Yesterday the Department for International Trade (DiT) announced that the UK will be suspending the retaliatory tariffs on US products resulting from the Boeing/Airbus dispute, which is welcome news signalling a resolve to de-escalate trade tensions and reach a negotiated settlement with the US.
In October 2019, the US raised its import tax on luxury products from Britain, including cashmere, wool, linen products and single malt whisky, to 25 percent following a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling that the US could punish European countries for subsidising the manufacture of the Airbus fleet.
The US has the right to review the tariffs every 180 days, and can increase the levies to 100 percent and include other product categories. The Airbus-Boeing tussle is the longest-running trade dispute in WTO history.
Helen Brocklebank, Chief Executive of Walpole, said: “Walpole welcomes the UK Government’s determination to de-escalate the transatlantic trade disputes that led to producers of cashmere, wool, linen products and single malt whisky being drawn into a situation which was not of their making. The plans to suspend punitive tariffs against the US over aircraft subsidies are a significant olive branch and one that I very much hope the new administration will reciprocate.”
She added: “The trade dispute over Boeing/Airbus has had a tremendously damaging impact on these businesses’ ability to export to the US – this harms them and it harms customers and businesses in the USA. North America accounts for 20 to 25 percent of British luxury brands’ exports and 75 percent of British luxury brands identify the region as the priority international growth market. Nobody benefits in a trade war. There is a long history of British and American luxury sector collaboration and co-investment, notably by whisky producers. British luxury brands have invested significantly in the US market, supporting job creation, media spend and capital investment. We very much want this will continue and that can only be done if this dispute is stopped in its tracks”