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UK gin makers say Donald Trump’s tariffs put 6,500 jobs at risk

Gin makers have warned the Government it has just days to stop Donald Trump hitting their exports with crippling tariffs.

The group of 230 distillers said it would see a major fall in sales across the Atlantic and put 6,500 jobs at risk.

The US President is threatening to slap a 25 per cent levy on gin, vodka and blended whisky from next month amid a trade war with the EU.

It follows the introduction of the same levy on single malt Scotch whisky last October.

The UK Spirits Alliance is demanding International Trade Secretary Liz Truss takes urgent action to avert the tariffs ahead of a review by the US Trade Representative on August 12.

In a joint letter, they urged Miss Truss to follow the lead of countries such as France that have won exemptions from US tariffs for champagne.

It said: ‘We can’t afford for the Government to lose what is the first test of Global Britain, which is what will happen if the United States applies tariffs to our world-renowned products in less than 20 days.

‘The tariffs imposed on Scotch whisky since last October have already cost the UK more than £200million. The risk to a growing industry, which supports vital areas like hospitality and tourism, is incalculable. Time is short for the Government to ensure the damage isn’t increased to an iconic British industry.’

Britain exports £1.5billion worth of spirits to America every year.

The drinks firms said they have been collateral damage in a trade dispute between the US and EU over plane makers Boeing and Airbus.

Tory MP Alicia Kearns, whose Rutland and Melton constituency is home to Brentingby Gin, said: ‘Our iconic national spirits industry supports thousands of jobs across the UK and generates billions for the economy.

‘We cannot underestimate the impact of the US imposing further harmful tariffs as the industry tries to recover.’

Liam Manton, founder of Didsbury Gin in Manchester who helped organise the letter, said: ‘Now is the time for our Government to stand by an industry which generates significant revenues for the public purse and also promotes brand Britain across the globe.’

A Department for International Trade spokesman said trade negotiators had made it clear to America that resorting to tariffs was ‘in nobody’s interests’.

They added: ‘We’re determined to protect British interests and we have raised the issue at the highest levels of the US administration.’

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