Liz Truss has blamed the European Union for the crippling US tariff hikes on Scotch whisky.
The trade secretary said Brussels had “failed” to find a solution in talks with Donald Trump’s administration and in the weeks and months ahead she would be taking up the case directly.
President Trump imposed 25% tariffs in October in retaliation to the European Union’s illegal subsidies to plane-maker Airbus.
Last month the tariff, which has so far cost the sector well over £200 million, was renewed for another 180 days.
Karen Betts, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, has previously bemoaned the UK Government for its “inexplicably slow” response to the tariff issue and has called on ministers to stop “looking to the EU” to resolve disputes.
President Donald Trump.
Ms Truss, speaking at trade questions, said the UK Government had been “pushing hard to remove tariffs”.
“We have made some progress in that we’ve stopped new tariffs being imposed on blended whiskey, we’ve also got the tariffs removed on shortbreads like Walker’s, which has helped protect 250 jobs,” she said.
“But the reality is, the EU have been responsible for negotiating the Airbus retaliatory tariffs, they failed to do so.
“That is why I entered direct talks with the United States. I’ll be having more talks in the coming months to get these unfair, unjust tariffs removed on single malt whiskey.”
Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said distillers across Scotland needed “more than just warm words”.
“The Scotch whisky industry has lost a third of its exports to the United States since the tariff was introduced. What is the government actually doing?”
Ms Truss repeated that she was in “direct talks” with the US to resolve the issue.