>US urged to boycott Scottish products after Lockerbie bomber’s release

>US urged to boycott Scottish products after Lockerbie bomber’s release American efforts to mount a boycott of British goods and services are gathering pace over the controversial decision to repatriate Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi.

US urged to boycott Scottish products after Lockerbie bomber’s release drinkers are being urged to switch to US, Canadian or Irish whiskeys.

US citizens are being urged to stop buying items ranging from Scotch whisky to kilts and petrol sold at BP-owned outlets as well as to cancel planned holidays in Britain to register their protest.

Websites are being used by protest groups to whip up support for the boycott, and drinkers are being urged to switch to US, Canadian or Irish whiskeys and switch their holidays to Ireland.

British companies with considerable US business are taking a relaxed view about the likely effect on their business, while appreciating the strength of feeling behind the protests.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) – with £370m worth of export business to the US annually – has been closely monitoring the developments, but feels any action or impact on sales is likely to be short-lived.

However, in some quarters it is felt that the boycott could have a longer life, particularly if British companies benefit from increased trade with Libya.

Campbell Evans, SWA director, said: “We have been faced with other boycotts in the past and found they haven’t lasted. We appreciate what lies behind this action. In the heat of the moment it is understandable.”

Scotch is the most visible and high-profile element in Scotland’s near £3bn a year of exports to the US but tourism is an important contribution to the economy. US tourists are estimated to account for around 14pc of foreign visitors to Scotland and are regarded as the biggest contributors to a £1bn-a-year business.

Diageo, the world’s biggest drinks company with 40pc of its operating profits generated in the US, is monitoring developments and so far has not seen any fall off in business. Johnnie Walker is its biggest whisky brand, but rum and tequila brands are more important to it in the market.

The websites make no distinction between the role of the Scottish or British governments in the repatriation decision. “Don’t travel to Scotland or do business there (or in the UK in general) and don’t buy any British or Scottish products,” http://www.boycottscotland.com tells US citizens.

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