Boris Johnson has been urged to intervene personally to persuade US President Donald Trump not to hurt “the little guy” by imposing 25% tariffs on whisky.
The levy, which also affects cashmere, shortbread, dairy products and pork, is due to be imposed by the US in ten days time in retaliation against EU subsidies given to aircraft maker Airbus.
The US was given the right to impose tariffs on £6.1billion of goods it imports from the EU following a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling last week.
Former Scottish secretary David Mundell, making his first speech from the backbenches in 14 years, used an urgent question in the Commons to urge the prime minister to personally intervene.
He said: “It was my duty to welcome President Trump to Scotland last year and during the course of that event he told me that ‘he loved Scotland’.
“Now, I’m sure if the prime minister was able to convey directly to President Trump the damage that these proposals will do to Scotland, particularly rural Scotland, that could have an impact.”
Whisky supports 11,000 Scottish jobs, most of which are in rural areas, and more than £1bn of the spirit was exported to the US last year.
International trade minister Conor Burns insisted there “would be no winners” in such a scenario and outlined how the UK Government has been in contact with senior figures in Washington, including US Vice President Mike Pence.
He described the tariffs as “unfair, wrong and unjust”.
And he added: “They are in no-one’s interest. The President of the United States prides himself on being the champion of the little guy and the little business.
“Well, it’s the little guy and the little business who will be harmed most directly if these tariffs come into play.”
“I have no doubt that the prime minister, on the next occasion that he speaks to the President of the United States, will want to express his disappointment and concern at these measures and urge the President to invite his administration to think again.”
Inverness MP Drew Hendry later hit out at the minister for not meeting with US officials earlier over the issue.
But Mr Burns responded: “Having returned to the United Kingdom from Vietnam last night I have not had a direct conversation.
“I went to the office today and we have been reaching out about having those conversations.
“I say to him, the absolute determination that we must all share is to try and protect the Scots whisky sector, and try to persuade the United States not to implement these tariffs in ten days time… that will be my focus.”