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News & Press: International Trade News

Boost our spirits by lowering alcohol tariffs – key global trade stories to read this afternoon

08 July 2020   (1 Comments)
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
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With so much going on around international trade this week, important developments can be easily missed.

The IOE&IT’s content team has trawled through the national media and trade press to find the key stories that busy exporters and importers need to know about today.

1. Boost spirits with lower tariffs

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has called on the UK to be a “bastion of free trade” as it forges its independent trade policy post-Brexit.

The trade body’s chief executive Miles Beale also told The Spirits Business trade publication that the UK should prioritise a deal with the US in order to remove the 25% retaliatory tariffs the US imposed on scotch whisky last year.

“I don’t expect that tariff to be removed soon unfortunately, but it’s something we’re pressing very hard for and we’re pressing from every angle,” he told The Spirits Business.

“There’s a real opportunity here for the UK to set itself up as being very pro-free trade,” he added. “That’s not as in vogue as it was a decade ago, but it’s absolutely something the UK should be doing as it’s going to be an independent free-trading nation.”

2. EU to concede on fisheries?

Michel Barnier is “ready to accept British plans that will give our boats a far greater share of catches,” reports the Sun.

Barnier was in London yesterday where the tabloid reports he was served halibut for dinner.

The prospect of the UK and EU arriving at a ‘landing zone’ in the talks, has also boosted the pound, with Pound Sterling Live reporting a 0.8% gain against the Euro and a 0.54% against the US Dollar.

3. Scottish defiance on food standards

The devolved government in Scotland has said it could defy UK legislation that would allow the parliament in Westminster to set UK-wide food and environmental standards.

Scotland’s cabinet secretary, Michael Russell, told the Financial Times that the SNP government would fight the legislation in the courts.

“We do not accept that this is a legitimate way of operating within devolution,” he said. “[If] they pass legislation... then we will have no intention of implementing that and they would have to essentially go to court to force its implementation.” 

4. Dr Fox to get UK nod for WTO

Dr Liam Fox has been given the UK’s nomination to stand for the top position at the WTO, the government has announced.

The FT reports that the government told former Labour minister, Peter Mandelson, that his application to be a candidate for WTO director general was rejected on the basis that he was a ‘Remainer’ in the Brexit debate.

Dr Fox will be in competition with candidates around the world to replace Roberto Azevedo, who announced his decision to move on from the position earlier in the summer.


John M. Rowbotham MIExCP says...
Posted 08 July 2020
What has not been explained is the complexity of the issue. The US is complaining about what it deems to be "unfair" subsidies by the EU in Airbus aircraft. The UK supplies several of the sub-assemblies for the Airbus aircraft programmes, so cannot exit its obligations because of the supply contracts. Because of this, the US may use this as a lever against the US-UK Free Trade negotiations, and especially concerning its existing punitive tariffs against alcoholic products produced in the UK, which sell well in the US, especially Scotch Whisky (and Irish Whiskey). Secondly, much of the tariff issue concerns Excise Duties, not Customs. Each US state levies state taxes on specific products, especially alcohol products, and therefore reserves the right to impose higher excise taxes on imported alcohol as it wishes at will. Any lobbying form this side of the Atlantic will have little effect in washington DC, as US policy is set deeply in US legislation as per the US Code Title 19.