We take Brexit in our stride, says Diageo CEO

28th July, 2017 by Annie Hayes

Diageo is “taking Brexit in its stride”, CEO Ivan Menezes has said, adding that the industry must strive to “keep Scotch whisky healthy” in export markets around the world.

Diageo is “taking Brexit in its stride”

Speaking at a media briefing yesterday [28 July] following the release of Diageo’s full-year results, Menezes said that he “does not see a scenario where we are concerned about [Brexit]”, adding that the group is working “very closely with the government”.

“The key thing we need to do is keep Scotch whisky healthy for the export markets around the world, and I’d say both the Scottish and the UK government understand very clearly,” he said.

“Our trade within the European Union (EU) will be tariff-free because of the World Trade Organisation arrangements. We’re working with the government to ensure other Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) where Scotch whisky benefits from the EU remain in place, like with Korea or South Africa. We want to ensure over time that some of the new FTAs give us a better arrangement.”

The group would “clearly want a smooth Brexit”, Menezes said, adding “you don’t want to create a set of conditions that makes it tough for business”.

“We don’t want trucks stopped at the border, we want product to flow easily, we don’t want lots of paperwork,” he said. “We want to ideally get to a position where we could sell Johnnie Walker in Germany no differently than we do today.”

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