US TARIFF THREAT TO FIFE BUSINESSES RAISED IN HOLYROOD
Published date : 18 Nov 2019
Glenrothes MSP, Jenny Gilruth, has condemned the recent imposition of US trade tariffs on a range of Scottish goods.
Tariffs of 25% came into effect in October, adversely impacting on local Fife businesses such as Diageo in Leven and InchDairnie Distillery outside Glenrothes.
The value of Scotch Whisky exports to the US grew from £280m in 1994 to over £1bn last year. From Leven, Diageo packages over 38 million cases of spirits a year, with a workforce of 1,100.
The Scottish Government has warned that a No Deal Brexit could cause a further economic shock which would tip the Scottish economy into recession, with the CBI estimating that it could cost Scotland £14 billion per year by 2034.
Speaking in The Scottish Parliament Chamber, the Fife MSP said:
“We need a solution for these Tariffs, which are unfairly harming key Scottish Industries. I know the Scottish Government is focused on playing its part and doing all it can. The real impact of Tariffs, much like Brexit, will be felt by those who can least afford it.
“Ultimately, under the current constitutional arrangements this will be in the gift of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson. I don’t accept that either of these individuals have the best interests of the industry, or my constituents’ livelihoods, at heart.
“America is playing Politics with some of Scotland’s largest employers; but bully boy tactics are the last thing we need in an era of political flux.”
Addressing the new tariffs, InchDairnie Managing Director, Ian Palmer said:
“A significant proportion of what we produce is traded within the industry, primarily for blended whisky. So the impact the tariffs will have will be indirect and long term.
“The issue will be the long-term effect of the loss of sales in an important market and the ripple effect it will have on the industry in the wider sense. The tariffs will an effect on changing the market so that when the tariffs are removed the market will have changed and the product will have to build up it the position it had prior to the imposition of the tariffs.
“If there is a slowdown in production at some malt distilleries this will have an effect on our trading position in the blended whisky market.”