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Relief but caution as salmon is left off US tariffs list

Scottish salmon fillets have been left off the list of tariffs imposed by the US in a row over aircraft subsidies. Photo: SSPO.
Scottish salmon fillets have been left off the list of tariffs imposed by the US in a row over aircraft subsidies. Photo: SSPO.

Scotland’s salmon farmers have expressed relief that their products won’t be hit by United States import tariffs as part of an ongoing dispute with the European Union over subsidies to aircraft maker Airbus.

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But the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) has said it understands that the US can add products to the list of taxed goods, and will continue to argue the case for a barrier-free export of salmon.

Scottish salmon fillets were on the initial list of products which the US authorities published earlier this year when they identified potential targets for tariffs.

However, according to a new list published this week, salmon fillets are now not going to be hit with tariffs when they are imposed later this month.

Hamish Macdonell:
Hamish Macdonell: "Regular dialogue".

Threat removed

Hamish Macdonell, the SSPO’s strategic engagement director, said: “We are relieved that our farmers will be able to continue to send top quality Scottish salmon into the USA, without any new barriers in their way.

“The SSPO has been in regular dialogue with European, UK and US officials since the threat of tariffs against Scottish salmon first arose. We are pleased that the US authorities have now removed the threat of tariffs from Scottish salmon and that our many American customers there will be able to continue to enjoy our fish, as they do now.”

Salmon sales from the UK to the US last year topped £150 million. Most of this was in the form of chilled, head-on gutted fish but fillets – the category which could have been hit with new tariffs - accounted for about £10 million.

25% on single malt

The most high profile target of the tariffs is single malt Scotch whisky, which will face a tariff of 25% from October 18.

Karen Betts, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, told the BBC: "This is a serious situation for the industry.

"We’ve had a zero tariff on imports to the United States for the past 25 years, so this is quite a hike."

Other goods being targeted include cashmere sweaters, dairy products, pork, books and some machinery.

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