TRADE Minister Ivan McKee has said the damaging impact of US trade tariffs will be felt across Scotland.

Speaking at the Scottish Parliament yesterday, he said the 25% tariffs on goods including Scotch whisky, biscuits and woollen and cashmere products will have a direct impact on businesses.

US President Donald Trump has been a vocal proponent of imposing tariffs on foreign goods.

McKee said: “Trade disputes may seem far removed from most people’s day-to-day lives, but the impact of these tariffs on Scottish businesses, and potentially on people’s jobs, is immediate and real.

“Single malt Scotch whisky, cheese, butter, cashmere, and sweet biscuits including shortbread, are targeted by the tariffs.

“This is profoundly worrying for Scottish producers exporting, or planning to export, to the US.”

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He warned that the impact of the tariffs will be felt across the country, “from the villages of Speyside to the west coast island distilleries and the textile manufacturers of the Borders”.

McKee added: “These US tariffs have seen Scotland caught up in a trade dispute not of our making. They have a direct impact on Scottish businesses, but post-Brexit tariffs with the EU would multiply the scale of this impact on the Scottish economy.

“Our healthy current trade with the US shows that we do not need to leave the EU to trade successfully with the US. We can increase our exports to 25% of our GDP in the next 10 years, but Scotland’s voice must be heard and our interests represented in future trade deals.”

The World Trade Organisation gave the US permission to impose tariffs on up to $7.5 billion of EU goods, as a 15-year battle over European subsidies given to plane-maker Airbus continues.

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Scottish Conservative MSP Dean Lockhart claimed Scotch whisky and other vital sectors could be prevented from becoming collateral damage in wider trade disputes after Brexit.

“The only reason Scotch whisky and other sectors are being hit with US tariffs is because we are still members of the EU,” he said.

“And because in this trade dispute, the EU has prioritised the interests of European aerospace, French champagne and other European sectors at the expense of Scotch whisky.

“The reality is that after Brexit, we will be free to negotiate our own free trade agreements with the rest of the world. We can then prioritise the interests of Scotland’s whisky, fishing, agricultural and other vital sectors.”

Rhoda Grant, Labour’s finance spokeswoman, said the US sanctions did not come as a surprise: “[The US] have shown that they’re not reasonable and our economy will be at their whim if we become too dependent on that trade,” she said.

“Therefore, should Brexit happen, we need to retain very close relationships with the EU.”