WSTA calls for immediate end to US whiskey tariff

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has called for the UK government to swiftly remove tariffs on US whiskies.

Since June 2018, bourbon and US whiskies have been subject to an additional tariff of 25%, ending 25 years of tariff-free trade in whiskies between the UK and the US.

However the decision to impose a tariff on US whiskies, initially taken by the EU, has resulted in significant declines in trade.

While the annual value of US whiskey imports to the UK has halved since 2017, UK importers and the hospitality sector have paid an extra £55m in retaliatory tariffs since duties came into effect. 

The WSTA believes that the continuation of tariffs either on US whiskies or new ones on US wines could see the US re-target UK exports in future trade disputes.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said: “This government is a strong proponent of free trade around the world. The next step to take is to remove US wines and spirits from all current and future trade disputes.

“US whiskies have paid more than their fair share of tariff, and in a year when the hospitality industry has seen significant closures, it’s time we got back to trade and not tariffs with our close friends across the pond.

 “The WSTA supports the removal of tariffs on all wines and spirits with immediate effect.”