US suspends tariffs on key UK imports

Imports and Exports | | MIC Customs Solutions |

The US has agreed to suspend tariffs on a range of UK imports for four months in order to help negotiate an end to the long-running Airbus-Boeing trade dispute.


The US has agreed to suspend a range of tariffs on imports from the UK that had been imposed as part of a long-running transatlantic dispute over aircraft subsidies.

Duties on products including Scotch whisky, cheese, cashmere and machinery are set to be suspended for four months to allow the two sides to negotiate a longer-term settlement.

UK trade secretary Liz Truss welcomed the move, saying it would help pave the way for an improved trading relationship between the two countries across the board.

The tariffs relate back to an ongoing row between the EU and US about subsidies offered to airliner manufacturers Airbus and Boeing. Both sides accuse the other of providing illegal assistance to their own companies in the form of tax breaks, research grants and other aid.

In 2019, Donald Trump's administration imposed tariffs on £7.5 billion of EU goods, including UK products such as whisky and pork. In response, the EU added tariffs to £3 billion of US goods last November.

However, as the UK is now free to impose its own import duties post-Brexit and no longer has to go along with those imposed by Brussels, it has been keen to ease tensions and distance itself from the EU's policies.

The UK had already unilaterally removed some of its own tariffs on US goods imposed as part of the tit-for-tat dispute. It lifted these on January 1st after formally leaving the EU, and has since been lobbying the US for reciprocal measures with a view to agreeing a comprehensive free trade agreement.

Industry bodies have previously warned that the tariffs are doing major damage to trade in key goods. The Scotch Whisky Association, for example, has claimed exports of its products to the US have fallen by a third since the 25 percent duties were imposed in 2019.

The group has therefore welcomed the latest developments. Chief executive Karen Betts said: "This is fabulous news, and our industry is delighted. The tariff on single malt Scotch whisky exports to the US has been doing real damage in the 16 months it has been in place.

"Today, everyone in our industry - from small companies to large - is breathing a sigh of relief."