TRADE Secretary Liz Truss flies to the US today to save UK booze industry jobs.
She wants tariffs on Scotch whisky lifted.
And Ms Truss will urge her US counterpart not to slap them on our gin exports. She has packed a bottle of Hendrick’s gin to smooth the way when she meets Bob Lighthizer in Washington on Monday.
A source said: “It’ll give him a taste of what Americans could be missing out on if they don’t deal.”
Around 6,500 UK distillery jobs are in the balance after President Trump slapped a 25 per cent levy on malt whisky last October in a row with the EU.
Scotch whisky exports to the US have fallen by 25 per cent, costing £30million a month. Now the spirits industry fears extra costs on gin, vodka and beer.
But Ms Truss will demand the tit-for-tat tariffs are removed before talks begin on a US-UK free trade deal. She also wants the “ridiculous” ban on UK lamb lifted, along with tariffs on steel, cars, machinery, clothes, cheese and biscuits. She said: “I’ll be fighting hard for British interests.”
Liam Manton, of the UK Spirits Alliance, said: “I hope she’s ready to stand up for British distillers who are days away from being hit with further punitive tariffs.”