UK repeal bill must protect Scotch whisky laws, SWA urges

14th July, 2017 by Annie Hayes

European Union laws that cover spirit definitions and labelling rules must “continue to have effect” as the UK’s repeal bill passes through Parliament, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has said.

WSTA Michael Gove

The Scotch Whisky Association has welcomed the publication of the UK repeal bill

The 66-page bill, which will repeal the European Communities Act of 1972 and covert existing EU laws into UK law, has been welcomed by the SWA.

Published yesterday (Thursday 13 July), the document – officially called the European Union (Withdrawal Bill) – has been drawn up as part of the process of removing Britain from the EU.

“As EU laws are brought directly into UK law, it’s essential that business stability, certainty and consistency are top of the agenda,” said Karen Betts, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive. “It’s important for Scotch whisky producers that all relevant EU laws covering issues such as spirit drink definitions and labelling rules continue to have effect.

“This also applies to UK laws connected to the European Communities Act. We look forward to working closely with government throughout this process to ensure that any amendments necessary to make EU laws work in the UK are practical and appropriate.”

The Scottish and Welsh governments have said they could not support the bill, dismissing it as a Westminster “power grab”. The proposed legislation is also facing opposition from Labour and other parties in the Commons.

The repeal bill is not expected to be debated by MPs until the autumn, but will need to have been passed by the time the UK leaves the EU – slated to happen in March 2019.

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