INDEPENDENCE and joining the EU is the only way to protect Scottish exports, the SNP has warned, as India looks set to impose hundreds of millions of pounds on UK exports, including whiskey and gin Scottish.
The move comes as India seeks to leverage trade talks with the UK, as the two governments strive to secure a new trade deal following the Tories’ Brexit deal.
The SNP has previously urged the UK government to communicate with the Indian government to reduce the pre-existing 150% tariff on Scotch whiskey, with India currently the world’s largest whiskey market.
Drew Hendry, the party’s fictitious international trade spokesperson, wrote to the UK Department for International Trade asking for clarification on the matter.
Hendry said: “There is no doubt that the only way to protect Scottish exports is through independence and reintegration into the European Union and the single market.
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“Scottish exporters are already dealing with the consequences of the pandemic, the UK’s trade war with the EU, and are barely recovering from the 25% tariffs imposed by the Trump administration.
“It is therefore an alarming situation for Scottish producers if they are to be slapped with even more costs by a key partner like India.
“That’s why I’ve written to the UK Department for International Trade, asking them what can be done to deter the Indian government from imposing these 15% tariffs.
“I have also requested an urgent update on the status of the pre-existing 150% tariffs on whiskey under the wider UK-India trade deal.
“It is crucial that the UK government does everything in its power to convince the Indian government to reverse its decision, or expose one of Scotland’s greatest exports to further misery.
“Furthermore, in the event of an increase in Indian import tariffs, the UK government must commit to a financial support program for the industries affected, including Scottish distilleries.”