Help us, Joe! SNP plots Biden charm offensive in bold independence push – desperate letter


Help us, Joe! SNP plots Biden charm offensive in bold independence push – desperate letter

UK trade markets 'growing faster than EU markets' says TrussThe Scotch Whisky Association says that exports to the US have fallen by more than 30 p

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UK trade markets ‘growing faster than EU markets’ says Truss

The Scotch Whisky Association says that exports to the US have fallen by more than 30 per cent in the past year, hitting companies such as Chivas Brothers and Bells hard. Figures from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) also reveal it cost the industry £176million in the first part of 2020.

UK Trade Secretary Liz Truss who held talks with the previous Trump administration is seeking an early meeting with US President Joe Biden’s trade czar, Katherine Tai to resolve the issue.

But the SNP have taken matters into their own hands amid signs Edinburgh are starting closer relations with the Biden administration.

SNP MSP Gil Paterson has written personally to newly-elected US President Joe Biden to reverse the tariffs imposed by the Trump administration 12 months ago.

In the letter to The White House, the Clydebank and Milngavie MSP wrote: “You will be aware that vast numbers of ordinary people in Scotland; although bystanders in the USA election, we were all willing you on to win, so many congratulations.”

Joe Biden

Mr Biden has been urged to “intervene and help resolve this crisis for Scotch Whisky exports” (Image: Getty)

Scotch Whisky

The tariffs, introduced by Donald Trump, include a range of products, including Scotch whisky (Image: Getty)

Mr Paterson – who has also written to the UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss – drew attention to the concerns of Auchentoshan Distillery in his constituency.

He stressed: “The Auchentoshan Distillery have a long and good relationship with the United States and to be fair, as does the Scotch Whisky industry as a whole.”

The SNP MP concluded: “Once again, we are delighted in Scotland, with your election and we know much work needs done, but we are confident that any difficulties faced by the USA are now in the right hands and will be dealt with.”

Mr Paterson said: “For over a year the Tories have assured us that finding a solution to this crisis was their top priority – yet nothing has changed, and these costs remain simply unsustainable for this vitally important industry.

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Gil Paterson

MSP Gil Paterson wrote to Mr Biden personally in a bid to scrap the tariffs introduced in 2019 (Image: Getty)

“Scotch whisky is crucial to the success of Scotland’s food and drink sector and our economy – and the industry must not be abandoned in its time of need.” understands the Scottish Government are keen to develop closer trade and cooperation relationships with the Biden administration to promote Scotland on the “world stage”.

Officials are seeking to develop a “warm” relationship with the Biden administration as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pushes for a second independence referendum.

A Scottish Government source told “Whilst we have no direct influence in this matter, getting our voice heard is important.”

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Boris Johnson

The UK government is said to have failed the Scottish drinks sector (Image: Getty)

Figures released by the SNP led administration revealed the United States accounted for around 15 percent of Scottish exports since 2015 worth more £4.6billion.

It comes as two Scottish Government ministers have called for more help for the whisky industry from the UK Government.

SNP ministers claim the whisky industry has also faced disruption due to COVID-19 and Brexit.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has pushed for Brexit-related export issues to be resolved as a matter of urgency in a letter to Rural Affairs Secretary George Eustice.

Fergus Ewing

Mr Ewing argued that it has been “a particularly difficult year” for Scotland’s drink sector (Image: Getty)

Mr Ewing said: “It’s been a particularly difficult year for Scotland’s food and drink sector.

“The whisky industry was already reeling from the triple threat of US import tariffs, the coronavirus pandemic slowing global demand, and a complicated alcohol duty system before Brexit compounded matters.

“Like many food and drink businesses, the sector is struggling with complicated bureaucracy post-Brexit and it is vital that such issues are resolved as soon as possible.

“I have written to the UK Government urging them to address the problems and will do my utmost to help one of Scotland’s greatest food and drink success stories get through this challenging time.”

Kate Forbes

Ms Forbes has been pushing for the Chancellor for reforms on the alcohol duty system (Image: Getty)

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has also pushed for changes to be announced in the upcoming budget in a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, such as reforms to the alcohol duty system paid on exports.

In response, a UK Government spokeswoman said: “Scotch whisky is world-renowned, and we are working closely with the industry to help them take advantage of new export markets.

“The UK Government promotes the Scotch whisky through the Food is Great campaign.

“Last year, we announced £1million dedicated to showcasing Scottish food and drink exports around the world.

“We are confident the sector is well-positioned to benefit from the expansive trade deals that we are now striking.”