The United States will suspend retaliatory tariffs against Britain for four months, including on Scotch whisky, arising from the longstanding trade dispute about subsidies for Boeing and Airbus. The two governments said they would use the time to try to come up with a long-term solution to the trade disagreement.
Since Britain left the European Union, it has sought to forge its own trade policy and secure a free-trade deal with the United States. On Jan. 1, the British government ended its retaliatory tariffs on Boeing and other goods, which were imposed by the European Union, in an effort to smooth over its relationship with the Biden administration. The decision essentially separated Britain from the dispute about aircraft subsidies between the European Union and United States. (That said, the U.S. trade representative argued Britain did not have the legal standing to keep imposing these tariffs outside the bloc.)
The tariff suspension is expected to help several types of British exporters, especially the Scotch whisky industry. In October 2019, a 25 percent tariff was placed on Scotch whisky and exports to the United States have since dropped 35 percent, costing companies more than £500 million (about $700 million), the industry’s trade group said. Cashmere and Stilton cheese producers will also benefit, the government said.
The decision “shows what the U.K. can do as an independent trading nation, striking deals that back our businesses and support free and fair trade,” Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, said in a statement.
The suspension “will allow time to focus on negotiating a balanced settlement to the disputes, and begin seriously addressing the challenges posed by new entrants to the civil aviation market from nonmarket economies, such as China,” the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and British Department of International Trade said in a joint statement.
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