Scotch ‘best served by status quo’ during Brexit transition

5th March, 2018 by Amy Hopkins

The Scotch whisky industry is hoping for a “status quo” Brexit transition period, whereby the UK would remain both in the EU single market and customs union.

“The Scotch whisky industry would be best served by a status quo transition,” according to the SWA’s chief executive Karen Betts

Trade association the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has made its position on the transition period for Brexit clear following prime minister Theresa May’s recent speech.

In the speech, May stressed that “life will be different” after the UK leaves the single market, as planned, post-Brexit.

“The prime minister’s speech has taken us closer to the clarity which key industries like Scotch whisky require if we are to mitigate the risks and harness the opportunities of Brexit,” said Karen Betts, chief executive of the SWA.

“For the transition period, the Scotch whisky industry would be best served by a status quo transition, where the UK remains both in the EU single market and the customs union, and with all relevant EU laws and bilateral trade agreements still fully applicable to the UK.

“It is critical to get the details of this resolved as soon as possible.”

Betts added that post-Brexit, the association is seeking “frictionless access to the EU markets” in the form of a “comprehensive EU-UK free trade agreement”.

“Our trade globally is equally important,” she said. “We export to 180 markets around the world, and our key growth markets in the medium to long term are outside the EU. Our ability to continue to influence trade policy is therefore vital.”

Speaking to The Spirits Business towards the end of last year, Betts said that while Brexit creates challenges for the Scotch industry, it also presents opportunities.

She said the repatriation of laws that band the UK’s alcohol excise system could lead to a “fairer” deal for Scotch.

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