Call for action made in face of tariffs which threaten wool exports to US

Shetland Wool Week may have been a roaring success, but US tariffs on wool – set for introduction this month – are threatening to cause a headache for the knitwear sector.

A demand has been made for the UK government to act following reports the US is set to introduce a range of tariffs on EU goods from 18th October.

The 25 per cent tariffs will cover wool products from the UK, including clothing.

The warning from the Orkney and Shetland MP has come after it emerged the 10th Shetland Wool Week had attracted around 1,000 visitors to the isles.

Alistair Carmichael said: “It is ironic that the news of tariffs being imposed on wool products comes during Shetland Wool Week.

Alistair Carmichael. Photo: Dave Donaldson

“Wool and knitwear are a big part of what defines traditional and craft industries in the Northern Isles.

“Fair Isle knitwear is known worldwide, and we should do everything to build on that interest.

“This is a sector which attracts tourism and international buyers.

“Just this week, the number of US visitors to the Shetland Wool Week has shown again how popular our products are to Americans, making these tariffs another blow.

“For those who deny that tariffs make a difference to our ability to export, the truth will soon be apparent.”

Mr Carmichael insisted “action is needed” to cut the risk to the economy from trade barriers.

“I am calling on the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, to get on the case immediately to fix this issue and support our wool industry.”


Add Your Comment
  • Mr ian Tinkler

    • October 4th, 2019 20:03

    One of the joys of the EU. Time to get out.

    • Patricia Fear

      • October 5th, 2019 18:55

      It has nothing to do with the EU. It has to do with the fact that farmers in America are suffering economic decline due to many reasons but recently to do with tariffs imposed on those countries who exported to the US and imported American food products – tit for tat. Mr Trump wants Americans to buy American and support their own farmers and markets – purportedly. In fact the EU is looking to increase its trade with Japan and the Japanese market loves the products made in Scotland – look at the Harris Tweed. So when Britain leaves the EU then there may be further problems for Scotland with sales to the EU although I believe they can trade independently with Japan as they do now. It is awful to loose a market when you produce wonderful products.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • October 5th, 2019 8:32

    The threat comes from that bully Trump. Time to stand strong with our neighbours against him.

  • John Tulloch

    • October 5th, 2019 16:55

    Mr Carmichael is quoted:

    “I am calling on the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, to get on the case immediately to fix this issue and support our wool industry.”

    Funny, that, because, as long as we remain in the EU, our government is not allowed to conduct trade negotiations. Only Brussels can do that.

    I thought everybody knew that? It was, after all, one of the principal arguments for leaving the EU.

    But, then again, maybe some Remainers “didn’t know what they were voting for”?

  • ian Tinkler

    • October 6th, 2019 18:15

    This has everything to do with the EU and breaking WTA rules! Europe at its best!!!
    “The award is the largest in WTO history –Record Award
    U.S. gets go-ahead to impose tariffs on $7.5 billion worth of EU exports.

    • Peter Hamilton

      • October 7th, 2019 14:23

      A more balanced view than Ian Tinkler’s would note the WTO has also recognised the US has broken the rules by providing support to Boeing, and that the EU will therefore be justified in taking retaliatory action in what will be an unhelpful trade war with the US.

      What is needed is here, and elsewhere, is international cooperation. That requires both sides overcome nationalist dogmas. Europe may be better at that type of thinking than Trump’s America, but it does not mean we should meekly submit to Trump’s chest thumping demands, as Tinkler and Tulloch seem to think fitting.

      This all seems so last century, so…, I don’t know, so… so pre-High School Musical if you will. As the better natured of our cousins across the pond would have it, “we’re all in this together”.

      Was ever a truer lyric written?

      • Ian Tinkler

        • October 7th, 2019 16:29

        Still to be adjudicated on. “A more balanced view than Ian Tinkler’s would note the WTO has also recognised the US has broken the rules by providing support to Boeing”. No final decision from the WTO as yet. More false comment from Hamilton!!

    • Bill Adams

      • October 7th, 2019 15:55

      Don’t blame the EU, Ian, Airbus UK is a major component
      of the Airbus conglomerate so the UK government is
      fully complicit in any state aid complaint.
      The wings for all Airbus aircraft are manufactured in the UK
      at either Filton near Bristol and at Broughton in North Wales,
      incidentally employing a workforce of about 13,000.

      The WTO are due to rule early next year on the EU complaint
      of illegal US state aid to the Boeing aircraft company via
      the Department of Defence, with the European Commission
      proposing £15billion of tariffs on US goods.

      I have to say that tit-for-tat tariff impositions are in
      no-one’s interest but this has been a long-running spat.

      • Ian Tinkler

        • October 7th, 2019 16:31

        Bill, at this time the UK is still part of the EU. With a bit of luck not for much longer.

      • ian tinkler

        • October 7th, 2019 16:47

        CHICAGO, March 28, 2019 – The Boeing Company today released the following statement after a ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body in the DS353 case:

        “The WTO has now rejected every allegation of unlawful subsidies to Boeing with the single exception of one measure.
        (the European Commission proposing £15billion of tariffs on US goods) About as likely as me voting for the SNP!!!!!!

  • David Spence

    • October 7th, 2019 12:16

    I believe, the whole idea of Brexit, is to have a trade deal with the USA, and then the go ahead for the mass privatisation of most government responsibilities and dutes of care going to US companies. This is where the Tories will benefit as shareholders of such companies?

    Brexit is nothing to do with the ‘ UK going it alone – hence the EU Ref ‘ and more to do with the government (Tories) taking the advantage of the situation by isolating ourselves from the EU, and trading more with the USA, where they, the Tories, will benefit more. Typical Tory Policy, ‘ Look after number one ‘.

    It is most certainly nothing to do with improving trading standards for the UK, and more to do with the laying down of the foundation stones for the mass privatisation.

    We are being led down the garden path of improved trading and expansion of British Trade around the world, when in reality, it is the Tories looking after themselves and trading with one country and this country taking over the economies of the UK… a nut shell.

    • Peter Hamilton

      • October 7th, 2019 18:12

      A more accurate perspective than Ian Tinkler’s would acknowledge the WTO has made a finding, but hasn’t yet settled on the scale of the EU’s permissible retaliation.

      As one of Ian’s preferred organs, the Torygraph, reported on the 3rd of this month: “The argument is not over yet. American subsidies for Boeing, its own national champion, have also fallen foul of the rules.
      That means the EU will soon be able to impose its own tariffs on US imports.”

      This means Ian has been a little too quick to judge, or prejudiced as it is also known. Encouragingly Ian’s currency is devalued each time this is demonstrated.

      Ian presents as someone desperate to find partial information that confirms his original suppositions. Ian is wrong to do this, wrong because of it, and wrong on so many other counts that sadly his opinion, good or otherwise, counts for little or nothing.

      However, as a (mere?) school teacher, I don’t wish to discourage Doctor Ian.

      Accurate and informed public debate matters. Besserwisser Ian can do better. It is his haste to prove others wrong that prevents him from being sufficiently skeptical of his own starting point. Pity dat and question why.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.