UK trade minister seeks early meeting with U.S. trade czar on whisky tariffs

LONDON (Reuters) – British trade minister Liz Truss said on Thursday she was seeking an early meeting with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to be his trade representative, Katherine Tai, to discuss dropping tariffs on Scottish whisky.

Truss said her department was working hard to de-escalate a row over state subsidies provided to civil aviation firms Boeing and Airbus which prompted the United States and European Union to impose tariffs on billions of dollars of each others goods.

Washington imposed tariffs on an array of EU food, wine and spirits, including on Scotch whisky, which the industry says are putting its future at risk.

“I have been clear with the United States and the European Union that we want to de-escalate this dispute and reach a negotiated settlement – this dispute has already been going on for 16 years and has caused much damage,” Truss told parliament.

“I am seeking an early meeting with the new U.S. trade representative Katherine Tai and this will be one of the items on my agenda.”

In December, Britain said it would use its new-found freedom outside the EU to diverge from the bloc’s common trade policy towards the United States, deciding to unilaterally suspend tariffs relating to the dispute on aircraft subsidies.

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