London — A move by the US to slap a 25% tariff on single-malt Scotch whisky will damage the industry and hurt jobs and investment in Scotland, the sector’s trade association said on Thursday, as it urged restraint on all sides.

On Wednesday, Washington said it would slap 10% tariffs on European-made Airbus planes and 25% duties on a range of products including French wine, Scotch whiskies and cheese from across the continent as punishment for illegal EU aircraft subsidies.

The US is Scotch whisky’s largest and most valuable single market, with more than £1bn of the product being exported there last year.

The association said that despite the issue being over aircraft subsidies, single-malt whisky represents more than half the total value of UK products on the US tariff list, amounting to more than $460m.

“The tariff will undoubtedly damage the Scotch Whisky sector,” Scotch Whisky Association CEO Karen Betts said in a statement.

“The tariff will put our competitiveness and Scotch whisky’s market share at risk,” she said. “We expect to see a negative impact on investment and job creation in Scotland, and longer term impacts on productivity and growth across the industry and our supply chain.”

Betts urged the US, the EU and the UK to de-escalate the trade dispute, adding that exports going both ways between Britain and the US had grown strongly over the past 25 years when there were no tariffs on spirits.


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