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Carmichael questions tariff plan

Alistair Carmichael MP

Clarity has been sought on efforts to mitigate US tariffs on goods, including whisky and wool products, by Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael.

According to Mr Carmichael, the United States imposed tariffs on £6.1bn worth of goods across the EU in October, including a 25 per cent tariff on single malt scotch whisky, and industry voices including the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) have expressed concern in recent days that the US may impose further tariffs in the coming months.

He said: “We face at least eleven months ahead of us under EU rules and tariffs, with no say in how they are negotiated. While the Government continues to dither, local people will feel the impact as we move from being rule makers to rule takers.

“Last week I spoke in the house about the risks that new tariffs and trade barriers could have for businesses in the Northern Isles. Food and drink production are a staple part of the isles economy. The impact that continued and intensified tariffs could have on rural communities is significant and organisations such as the SWA are understandably concerned.

“This could be just a taste of what is to come as we leave the EU and our economic clout is reduced. If there were any doubt about the limits of our leverage in future trade negotiations with the US, this is a reminder of the precarious position that the Government is putting us in.

“I will be writing to the Secretary of State for International Trade to explain what efforts they are making on these tariffs as a matter of urgency. With the UK losing our seat at the table in these trade talks at the end of this month, the next two weeks are crucial. We must give a voice to our local producers in these trade talks while we still can.”

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