SWA: UK needs ‘ambitious’ new free trade deals

26th August, 2016 by Annie Hayes

Scotch Whisky Association chief executive David Frost has met with the International trade secretary to discuss the pursuit of an “ambitious” set of new free trade deals in the wake of the Brexit vote.


The SWA has met with the UK’s International trade secretary to discuss the pursuit of an “ambitious” set of new free trade deals

On Wednesday, Frost met with the secretary of state for International trade, Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP to discuss opportunities to grow Scotch whisky exports.

At the meeting, which took place at the SWA’s Edinburgh headquarters, Frost emphasised the importance of market access for the category – which is currently Britain’s biggest net goods export, representing around 20% of all UK food and drink shipments overseas.

He said: “The secretary of state and I discussed the need to focus on pursuing an ambitious set of new free trade deals with export markets, whilst also ensuring we continue to enjoy the trade benefits already secured for Scotch whisky through existing EU arrangements.

“This is particularly important as the UK prepares to leave the EU and we look to grow Scotch whisky exports. I took the chance to explain that the industry is taking a very close interest in the arrangements for trade after Brexit. We have a wealth of knowledge and experience of international trade policy and legal issues built up over many years.

“In recent years the Scotch whisky industry has been at the forefront of UK government efforts to grow exports, playing a key role in the ‘Great’ campaign. I welcomed the focus on improving market access for our products and we look forward to working closely with the new International trade department in the future.”

Of the £3.8 billion worth of Scotch exported last year, £1.2 billion was shipped to the EU – the the SWA says planning for the future outside the EU is of “great importance” to the industry.

In addition, Scotch whisky generates around £5 billion annually for the UK economy,y and invests £1.7 billion in the Scotch whisky supply chain – almost all of which is based in the UK.

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