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SWA: Scotch will be Brexit ‘litmus test’

Following the triggering of Article 50, the Scotch Whisky Association has said the future of Scotch whisky (SWA) will be a “litmus test” to measure the success of the UK’s departure from the European Union.

The future of Scotch whisky will be a “litmus test”, the SWA has said

Last year Scotch whisky exports increased by both volume and value for the first time since 2013, boosted by a weaker pound post-Brexit. In a statement, Julie Hesketh-Laird, Scotch Whisky Association acting chief executive, outlined that this success “should not be taken for granted”.

Some business practices will remain the same Scotch whisky post-Brexit – Scotch whisky is covered by World Trade Organisation agreements, meaning exports won’t be subject to tariffs inside the EU.

In many other markets Scotch will also continue to see existing zero tariffs, for example in the US, Canada, and Mexico, as these are offered to all countries already.

However 10% of Scotch whisky exports go to markets such as Columbia, Mexico and South Korea, where trade agreements were brokered through the EU.

“There are many areas where Brexit could have an important impact on Scotch whisky trade and we’re working with government to address those potential challenges,” said Hesketh-Laird.

“We want the UK Government to pursue as open a trade policy as possible; secure continued robust protection of Scotch; transpose relevant EU single market legislation into UK law; [and] retain the preferential market access that Scotch Whisky receives under existing EU Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), such as the EU/Korea deal.”

Other key SWA objectives include finding ‘opportunities where a UK approach could benefit domestic industry’, and ensuring ‘a domestic tax and regulatory agenda that delivers a platform for international growth’.

In February, trade union GMB Scotland called for the UK government to implement measures to protect an estimated 160,000 jobs related to the Scotch whisky industry amid Brexit uncertainty.

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