I am saddened that the Scotch whisky industry has been dragged into a row between the US and the EU on the subsidy of aeroplane manufacture. The 25% tariffs, to be effected by the US in two weeks, affect not only whisky distillers but also cashmere producers and others. Some of the smallest industries in the UK will be affected by an issue concerning Boeing and Airbus, two of the largest. Amongst local producers who will be affected are William Grant & Sons in Girvan and by Begg & Co in Ayr.
My Scottish colleagues and I have written to the Prime Minister to urge action, although it is clear he is already keen to resolve the impasse, and I was today able to ask a question in the debate following the Urgent Question raised by Mr Mundell.
My contribution can be found here.
Will my hon. Friend advise me what steps the UK Government are taking to help to broker a negotiated settlement between the EU and the United States on what is essentially a long-standing issue regarding airplane manufacture between Boeing and Airbus, thus avoiding damaging tariffs for companies such as William Grant & Sons in Girvan, in close proximity to Trump Turnberry, and on cashmere produced by Begg & Co. of Ayr?
My hon. Friend asks an excellent question. I have articulated what we are trying to do: first, to persuade the United States not to act in the timeframe that they have set out; and secondly, to work with our friends and colleagues in the European Union to press the WTO to come to judgment on the Airbus/Boeing case and our compliance with the judgment as quickly as possible, so that we can move on from this and get back to proper free trade. In terms of the textile and whisky companies that my hon. Friend mentioned, we are acutely aware of that and they have our support.