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Menezes asserts importance of Scotland’s EU membership

As the Scottish referendum on independence nears, Ivan Menezes, CEO of Diageo, said that it is “extremely important” for the Scotch whisky industry to remain part of the European Union.

Ivan-Menezes
Ivan Menezes has said that Scotalnd’s EU membership is “extremely important” for the Scotch whisky industry

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Menezes said that although the decision on whether Scotland should become an independent state was “for the people of Scotland to make”, both Diageo and the Scotch whisky trade benefits from free trade agreements around the world.

Until recently, Menezes remained tight-lipped over the independence debate, but he now claims that any changes to taxation or Scottish currency could be “damaging” to the Scotch whisky industry.

“What we will fight for is keeping our industry competitive and thriving, and we’re very clear on what that requires,” Menezes said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

“Unlike other businesses, we can’t pick up and leave Scotland. “We’re there to stay.”

If Scotland votes in favour of independence in September, the country would not receive automatic membership in the EU, which must be approved by all member states.

Diageo owns the world’s best selling Scotch Johnnie Walker – formerly the world’s biggest overall whisky brand – as well as J&B blended Scotch, Talisker single malt, Buchanan’s and Lagavulin.

Menezes’s concerns follow those of David Frost, CEO of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), who warned of “potential risks” and “huge implications” of a “yes vote”.

Scots will vote in referendum on independence on 18 September.

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