UK government to ‘unlock’ new Scotch whisky markets

3rd August, 2017 by Annie Hayes

The UK government is “determined” to open up new export markets for Scotch whisky as Brexit comes into play, having established 11 working groups to strengthen trade and commercial ties with key countries around the world.

The UK government is “determined” to open up new export markets for Scotch whisky

The government is also seeking to reduce export tariffs for Scottish products through future trade agreements, according to Scottish secretary David Mundell – who will meet with the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and Diageo at Caol Ila distillery on Islay today (Thursday 3 August) to discuss the plans.

Export tariffs for Scotch whisky, which accounts for three quarters of Scotland’s total food and drink exports, currently range from zero to more than 150%.

“Scotch whisky is a world-class product, globally recognised for its quality and heritage, and the industry employs thousands of people in Scotland and around the rest of the UK,” Mundell said ahead of his visit.

“We are determined to open up new markets around the world for the very best whisky our distillers have to offer – and to drive down any tariffs they face.

“By strengthening ties with key partners, identifying new markets and tackling tariffs, the UK Government is paving the way towards an even brighter future for Scotland’s whisky industry.”

The Department for International Trade has established 11 working groups to build on trading relationships with the US, Australia, China, India, Mexico, South Korea and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Ministerial trade dialogues have also been established with Taiwan, Vietnam, India, Kazakhstan and Brazil.

International trade secretary, Dr Liam Fox, said: “With the recent uplift in trade, we should raise a glass to our exporting success and further help UK businesses make the most of an ever-growing demand for top-selling British products such as Scotch whisky as part of a global Britain.

“Reducing the costs for companies to sell overseas will become one way of further opening up free trade routes and boosting sales, and that’s why I’ve tasked my international economic department to look at how we can support more businesses to build their brands abroad.”

During his visit Mundell will visit the building site of the Ardnahoe distillery, set to be the ninth Islay distillery when it opens in 2018.

The distillery will bring even more jobs to the Scotch whisky industry, which currently employs more than 7000 people.

Karen Betts, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said: “The Scotch whisky industry is delighted that the Scottish secretary, David Mundell, is visiting Islay today.

“He’ll see the fascinating Islay distilleries, famous for their smokey malts. He’ll see too the importance of the Scotch whisky industry to Islay’s local communities, and how whisky production there contributes more broadly to the Scottish and British economies.”

The SWA’s priorities for Brexit entail forming a “deep and comprehensive” trade deal with the EU; securing the benefits of existing EU trade deals with countries around the world before negotiating new free trade agreements; “frictionless and efficient” customs procedures; and “robust” legal protection of Scotch globally.

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