SWA focused on protecting Scotch in wake of Brexit

24th August, 2017 by Melita Kiely

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has assured it is already taking steps to protect the category post-Brexit while the UK negotiates bilateral agreements between the EU and third countries.

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SWA looks to protect Scotch whisky in the wake of Brexit

Alan Park, SWA director of legal affairs, stressed the importance of looking at what Brexit might mean for Scotch whisky’s geographical indication (GI), which offers “a high level of protection for the product and consumers”.

He also emphasised that Brexit will not change the fact that Scotch whisky is a GI.

“There is an obligation on members of the WTO, the vast majority of nations, to protect GIs from misuse,” said Park. “Where Brexit will have an impact is in the protection given to Scotch whisky in some bilateral agreements between the EU and third countries.

“We want the UK to negotiate the continued benefits of those agreements but, in the meantime, the SWA is already taking steps to ensure that Scotch whisky is recognised and protected in those markets in the range of ways available to it.”

He also reiterated that the SWA has a team of specialists working closely with the UK government to “make a success of Brexit”, which will “undoubtedly have a major impact” on British industries and exporters including Scotch whisky.

“The key fact to remember is that the SWA has been protecting Scotch whisky around the world before GIs were defined by the WTO in 1994, and before the EU existed, so whatever changes Brexit brings, the SWA will continue to do what it has done for many decades: stop the sale of any products unfairly taking advantage of the reputation of Scotch whisky,” added Park.

“This means the consumer can continue to enjoy Scotch whisky knowing that it is a well protected and high quality drink.”

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