Scotland asks that EU Scotch law moves to UK legislation

31st July, 2017 by Amy Hopkins

The Scottish Government is calling for the EU definition of Scotch whisky to be implemented into UK law after Brexit amid fears that the US supports a “relaxed definition of whisky”.

Scotch whisky’s GI status is currently only written in EU law

Scotland’s economic secretary Keith Brown has written to the UK Government urging the protection of Scotch whisky after Liam Fox, Westminster’s international trade secretary, visited the US.

According to Brown, the US “made clear” in discussions around the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – a proposed trade agreement between the US and the EU – that it would “support a relaxation of the definition of whisky, which would open the market up to a number of products which do not currently meet that standard”.

The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 is a statutory requirement embedded in UK law that stipulates how Scotch whisky must be produced and marketed. However, Scotch whisky’s geographical indication status is currently only offered by EU law.

“Whisky is a product which is worth around £4 billion to Scotland in exports,” said Brown. “It is vital that we continue to have robust legal protection of Scotch whisky, which is why I have sought clarification from the UK Government as to whether Scotch whisky featured in discussions during last week’s trade visit by the secretary of sate for international trade. I am also demanding that the current EU regulations are guaranteed post-Brexit.

“After reports this week that the UK Government is contemplating trade deals that threaten the value and reputation of Scottish produce, once again we can see the confusion which is at the heart of the UK Government’s Brexit position.

“We need to be sure that any future deals work for Scotland and are not threatening the livelihoods of our farmers and producers. This is why all four UK Governments should have oversight of the negotiations to ensure, as far as possible, that the right outcomes for everyone are secured.”

The Scotch whisky industry currently supports around 20,000 jobs. In 2016, exports of Scotch whisky grew for the first time after years of stagnant or declining global sales, hitting £4 billion.

Earlier this year, trade group the Scotch Whisky Association 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.

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