A MAJOR breakthrough in a long-running trade dispute which has hit whisky and cashmere industry exports to the US has been welcomed.
Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP David Mundell says the suspension of tariffs on the American market, to allow talks to proceed, was a significant boost to south of Scotland spirit and textile exporters.
The former Scottish Secretary has campaigned over a lengthy period for the 25 per cent tariffs to be removed, raising the issue in the House of Commons on a number of occasions.
They were introduced as a penalty by the US in retaliation over what were claimed to be unfair EU subsidies to the aerospace industry.
Mr Mundell said: "I'm delighted with the breakthrough. A four months suspension of tariffs provides space and time to try to hopefully permanently resolve the dispute as part of wider trade discussions with the US.
"As I've repeatedly pointed out in Parliament, it seemed strange that tariffs should be applied to whisky and cashmere products when they were nothing to do with the original dispute.
"These unjustified tariffs have caused huge damage to these important industries, costing the Scottish malt whisky sector over £500 million alone."
Mr Mundell added he was pleased with the progress as the whisky industry, in particular, had expanded and created jobs in his constituency in recent years.