A Hawick councillor is calling on Scottish Borders Council to help Borders businesses weather Donald Trump’s latest round of trade tariffs, which are set to hit the region’s textiles and whisky industries. 

The polarising president has increased US tariffs on certain EU goods in retaliation for subsidies given to the aerospace manufacturer Airbus, which the US administration says gives an unfair advantage over American aerospace manufacturer Boeing.

Tariffs of 25 percent were brought in on Friday October 18, which are hitting Scotch whisky, Savile Row suits, Spanish Olives, Italian Parmesan and French wine. 

Now, at a meeting of Scottish Borders Council on Thursday October 31, the council’s ruling executive was asked to explain what measures it is taking to protect businesses in the region. 

Hawick and Hermitage councillor David Paterson said: “What steps are the council taking to ensure businesses in the Borders do not get unduly penalised in the latest round of trade wars with the American Republican administration imposing tariffs on the export of cashmere and other luxury goods exported from Scotland to America. 

“This action could well have far reaching effects on the textiles industry and other industries like single malt whisky.”

Mid Berwickshire councillor Mark Rowley, who acts as the executive member for economic development, answered: “I share your concerns, and in fact ahead of the question coming in I’d already met with some of the people who will be affected by these tariffs to offer what support I could.

“It remains that the council shares these concerns about the tariffs on goods and the export of certain cash flows, and on the impact on Borders manufacturers. 

“However, this is a matter for the UK Government, as it’s a reserved matter and the Scottish Government, nor the council, has any control over.

“I believe that industry as a whole has made its concerns known to the UK Government and the government are working closely with the US Government and the European Union and other partners to agree a negotiated settlement.

“I would further add that I have spoken to our MP John Lamont and he has made direct representations and has been pushing this.

“I do understand his concerns and it’s something we’re following closely.”

Two weeks ago, representatives from the UK Fashion and Textile association (UKFT) met with International Trade Secretary Liz Truss to discuss the tariffs. 

Following the meeting, UKFT CEO Adam Mansell said in a statement: "Waiting for the outcome of a potential free trade agreement with the US isn’t enough.

"We need the government to take direct action now to support our manufacturing industry.

“Some companies will be facing tariffs of more than 40 percent on some products.

"At a time when the industry is facing huge uncertainty over the impact of Brexit, this is devastating.”