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 Full text 
Tuesday, 26 November 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

Measures to address the impact on European agriculture of the WTO ruling on the Airbus dispute (debate)

  Sheila Ritchie, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Madam President, single malt whisky, wine, olive oil, butter, cheese and cashmere attract 92% of the US’s trade counter—measures. Olives, pork, sweet biscuits – that is shortbread – and other products are also targeted.

I’m horrified that the US is targeting malt whisky. I assume that they think this will be a victimless tariff; it will not. Young male unemployment in rural Scotland is about 20%. The whisky industry employs over 11 000 people, 7000 of them in rural areas. It also has the tenth highest employment multiplier of any industry in Scotland, so trickle—down jobs make this a double blow. Twenty-two percent by value of single malt goes to the States. However much you may drink on a flight to settle your nerves, the Airbus dispute has nothing to do with whisky. I could be moderately sympathetic to a drop in Diageo’s profits, but I’m devastated at the prospect of the material impact on investment and job creation that this will cause.

The EU is currently applying a 25% import tariff on American whisky. I beg the Commissioner to find a way to use the promise of removal of that tariff to safeguard the economy of rural Scotland. Not that I think there should be a dispute at all, but why should my unknowing constituents find themselves out of work because of a high—level dispute about steel, aluminium and aeroplanes?

Please go back to the US with honey, as well as vinegar. The whisky industry spends GBP 70 million a year on bourbon casks from the US, and that trade will be lost. For our side of the Atlantic, stop this tit—for—tat, job—destroying tariff retaliation. I couldn’t afford the tariffs on good malt or cashmere, but I got the Commissioner a tin of fine Scottish ...

(The President cut off the speaker)

Last updated: 9 December 2019Legal notice