WTO formally backs US tariff on single malt Scotch

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has formally given the go ahead for the US to impose US$7.5 billion worth of tariffs on exports from the EU, including single malt Scotch whisky.

On 2 October, the US government revealed its intentions to impose a 25% import tariff on EU goods, including single malt Scotch whisky, single malt whiskey from Northern Ireland, liqueurs, cordials and wine on 18 October 2019.

Yesterday (14 October), WTO members authorise the measure at a meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB). The countermeasures on EU goods is up to a value of US$7,496.623.

It was granted after the WTO found that the EU and certain EU member states failed to remove subsidies for the European aircraft maker Airbus, causing a loss in sales for US rival plane manufacturer Boeing.

The EU said it had “serious concerns” about the decision and that US tariff measures were “short-sighted”.

“Both the EU and the US have been found at fault by the WTO dispute settlement system, and the mutual imposition of countermeasures would only harm global trade and the broader aviation industry,” the EU said in the statement.

The EU is currently pursuing its own negotiation proceedings in the dispute.

Trade group the Distilled Spirits Council said these new tariffs will have “numerous unintended negative consequences” on jobs and consumers in the US, as well as US firms operating in the EU wine and spirits industry.

Analysis from the trade association shows that the US tariffs on Scotch, liqueurs and cordials, and wine could impact almost US$3.4bn in imports. It could also result in the loss of around 13,000 jobs in the country, including bartenders and farmers.

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