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UKFT urges government to take direct action on US tariffs


UKFT met with International Trade Secretary Liz Truss today to put forward the UK fashion and textile industry’s views on the US trade war, which will see significant tariffs put on products that have nothing to do with the aircraft dispute.

The retaliatory tariffs that the US is due to introduce tomorrow will see 17 fashion and textile product lines spanning jumpers made of wool, cashmere, cotton or manmade fibres, as well as women’s anoraks, men’s suits, pyjamas, swimwear, blankets and bed linen, attract an additional 25% duty.

The US tariffs relate to a longstanding trade dispute over subsidies granted to Boeing and Airbus.

UKFT was joined by Johnstons of Elgin and John Smedley, alongside representatives from businesses which also have products impacted by the tariffs including aircraft, single malt whisky and biscuits.

The 25% tariff is in addition to the normal duties which apply on these products.

Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT, said: “Waiting for the outcome of a potential free trade agreement with the US isn’t enough. We need the government to take direct action now to support our manufacturing industry.

“Some companies will be facing tariffs of more than 40% on some products. At a time when the industry is facing huge uncertainty over the impact of Brexit, this is devastating.”

The International Trade Secretary said the government is taking the issue seriously, had raised it with the highest levels of the US administration and will continue to do so until the tariffs are dropped.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “We are working closely with the US, EU and European partners to support a negotiated settlement to the Airbus and Boeing disputes.”

She suggested that a new UK-US Free Trade Agreement could provide an avenue to avoid future trade disputes and negotiating an FTA with the United States is one of the highest priorities of the Secretary of State.