The UK trade secretary has vowed to step up efforts to persuade the US to drop tariffs on single malt whisky as the sector criticised her for being too slow to protect it from the fallout of an aircraft subsidy row.
Liz Truss was accused by the Scotch Whisky Association of being “inexplicably slow” to directly tackle with the US administration the 25 per cent levy on the drink.
The issue has acquired symbolic significance for Boris Johnson’s government, which is desperate to show that his administration is fighting for Scottish interests and delivering results.
Popular support for Scottish independence has risen in recent months, according to opinion polls, and Mr Johnson is taking a holiday in Scotland next week — seen as a highly political choice.
Ms Truss urged Bob Lighthizer, US trade representative, to end the levy, introduced last October, when she met him in Washington earlier this month. But on Wednesday he confirmed that it would remain in place.
The UK sells about £1bn of Scotch whisky to the US annually, of which one-third is single malt, according to the Scotch Whisky Association. The US market accounts for 22 per cent of global exports by value and 11 per cent by volume.
The US did however hold off on a threatened hike in tariffs on other products, including…