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Us Tariffs: Scotch Whisky

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:19 pm on 7th October 2019.

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Photo of Douglas Ross Douglas Ross Conservative, Moray 5:19 pm, 7th October 2019

Mr Speaker, as you know from my application for an urgent question on this subject today, my constituency is severely affected by the announcements from the US last week. Moray is home to 40% of all Scotch whisky distilleries, as well as a sector that has not been mentioned so far: the biscuit industry. Some 50% of biscuits exported to the US are Scottish shortbread. Moray is home to Walkers of Aberlour, and when I spoke to Jim Walker earlier this afternoon, he wanted me to stress that figure. I met Lewis Maclean of Maclean’s Highland bakery in Forres on Friday, who expressed his concerns for his sector as well.

Can the Minister update the House on what steps the Government will take over the next 10 days to try to stop these tariffs taking effect from 18 October, which feeds into the important Christmas market? I also reiterate the point that a zero tariff on bourbon and American whiskey when we leave the European Union would send the strongest possible message to the US that the UK is on its side, and it should take away these tariffs?