The European Union’s deepening trade war with America must be de-escalated if the Scotch whisky industry is not to suffer severe damage in the crossfire, a Conservative MEP has warned.
Baroness Nosheena Mobarik said her constituents in Scotland were concerned by the potential harm to exports and jobs from the crisis.
She spoke out ahead of a vote in the European Parliament highlighting the potential harm to a range of famous food and drink products across the continent. They have been hit by swingeing 25 per cent tariffs imposed by the United States last month as tit for tat over EU tariffs imposed on Bourbon whiskey.
Lady Mobarik, Conservative spokesman on international trade, said: “The Scotch whisky industry is a world-famous success story, but those amazing businesses along with their thousands of jobs are all being jeopardised by events beyond their control.
“They never wanted tariffs imposed on Bourbon or anything else. They are happy to compete on quality and taste with any drinks industry in the world.”
“But they have been caught up as innocent bystanders. Collateral damage in a global trade war.”
She pointed out that while Scotch represented 62 per cent of all UK products affected, Scottish shortbread was another iconic foodstuff caught up in the tariff turf war.
The whisky producers estimate that any prolonged tariff regime would see exports fall by 20 per cent, or more than 100 million dollars.
Lady Mobarik said: “Scotland is bearing the brunt of this stand-off. Now thought has to be given to how both sides can start to bring down the temperature and get back to normality.
“The World Trade Organisation should encourage easing off on some of the EU’s more problematic tariffs and get Scotland out of this damaging crossfire.”