New US tariff threat to Scottish salmon fillets

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Salmon exporters breathed a short-lived sigh of relief last October.

The BBC is speculating that tariffs could imposed on Scottish salmon fillets (about 12 per cent of exports) soon as next month. Last October, salmon dodged President Trump’s billions of dollars worth of duties on EU agricultural goods.

In April 2019, Trump said he was ready to hit European exporters with fresh duties in retaliation against over USD 11 billion (GBP 8.4 billion) worth of damage from EU subsidies to Airbus that the World Trade Organization found caused “adverse effects” to the United States.

For a while, it was deemed that salmon was safe from the escalating trade dispute between America and Europe. Not so lucky are Scotch malt whisky exporter, who have had a 25 per cent tariff on goods since last October, costing the industry GBP 200 million.

In June, the U.S. Trade Representative wrote that is considering modifying the list of products of certain current or former European Union (EU) member States that currently are subject to additional duties. A decision is expected soon after 12 August, when a US consultation ends.

Furthermore, the FT reports that the British government has abandoned hopes of getting a U.S. free trade deal before the election, with officials blaming the coronavirus outbreak for slow progress.

“US-UK post-Brexit trade talks are not seen as likely to help in the short term, and the coronavirus crisis has made the cause of the dispute – subsidies to aircraft-makers – much bigger,” wrote the BBC.

Though there could be light at the end of the tunnel and an end to the 16-year dispute, as on Friday, Airbus announced it has agreed to make changes which would remove the justification for U.S. tariffs, reported the FT.

Director of Strategic Engagement for the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation Hamish Macdonell told SalmonBusiness: “We are in regular contact with government on a range of issues, including the ongoing Airbus dispute, and we will continue to monitor developments closely.”