Foreign AffairsSpeeches

Emily Thornberry – 2020 Comments on US Trade Tariffs

The comments made by Emily Thornberry, the Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, on 13 August 2020.

We welcome the withdrawal of tariffs on shortbread as well as the temporary reprieve for exports of gin, salmon and blended whisky, but that good news makes it all the more disappointing that punitive tariffs are being maintained on single malt whisky, knitwear, cheese and other key exports.

Coming on the back of this week’s disastrous growth figures, the maintenance of those tariffs represents a double blow for hundreds of vital British businesses, especially in Scotland, and the tens of thousands of workers they employ.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the EU-US dispute, it has nothing to do with the distilleries, farmers, food producers and clothes makers affected by these tariffs, and – at this time of all times – it is an act of economic vandalism for Donald Trump to continue targeting their livelihoods in this way.

The government must provide urgent support to all the firms and workers affected, and redouble its efforts to get these tariffs removed. British exporters can’t afford to wait months for a fully-fledged UK-US free trade deal to come to fruition; they need action against the tariffs that are damaging their business today.