UK trade deals could provide Scotch Brexit boost
13 Oct 2016
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is today urging the
Government to help boost Scotch Whisky exports after Brexit by
giving a high priority to negotiating new trade deals in key
The trade body has highlighted that its biggest needs are an
open trading policy and pragmatic, non-disruptive transitional
arrangements after Brexit. The UK Government should work to ensure
global trading arrangements that are better than those already in
place and support key export industries, such as Scotch Whisky.
The SWA's analysis highlights markets with long-term potential
for whisky exports and where an ambitious free trade agreement
(FTA) with the UK could eventually deliver significant benefits
through the elimination of tariffs and trade barriers. Priorities
• Major markets with long-term potential: above all
India, but also China, and Brazil (and the wider Mercosur region of
Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela).
• Fast-growing emerging markets with potential: for example
Angola, Kenya, Nigeria, Burma, or Vietnam.
• Established markets where further growth is possible with
the boost of an FTA: Australia and Thailand.
Last year, Scotch Whisky exports were worth nearly £4bn in
customs value, making Scotch the biggest single net contributor to
the UK's trade balance in goods and the country's largest food and
drink export. Analysis of the potential impact of Brexit on Scotch
Whisky distillers also led the SWA to highlight:
• Whilst Scotch Whisky will not face any new tariffs
when shipped to the EU, there remains uncertainty around some
future practicalities of exporting to the EU. The UK should
negotiate to minimise cost and complexity for
• Negotiators should ensure the UK can continue to benefit
from existing EU trade agreements with major whisky markets, such
as Colombia, Korea, or Mexico, with current provisions
'grandfathered' - transferred over after Brexit. Vietnam would also
come into this category if the EU's deal came into force before the
• The industry sees little value in the UK being part of the
EU Customs Union should it wish to strike new trade deals. The
benefits would be outweighed by the limits on the UK pursuing an
open trade policy and agreeing its own deals.
• The UK should explore the potential benefits from joining
existing trade deals, such as the Trans-Pacific
• UK Government departments and embassies need to boost even
further their trade capacity and expertise to support strategically
important exports, like Scotch Whisky, on market access and
• The SWA welcomed the business certainty offered by the
Great Repeal Bill - legislation transposing all EU rules into UK
law, at least for a provisional period after Brexit. This would
cover essential rules, for example, on bottle sizes, labelling, and
product definitions. In the longer-term, there are areas, such as
energy and taxation, where there may be opportunities for change to
support industry competitiveness.
The SWA also called on the UK Government to ensure that no new
domestic tax or regulatory burdens are placed on Scotch Whisky at a
time of continued uncertainty following the Brexit
David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said:
"Brexit poses challenges and uncertainty but also brings
opportunities if the UK can secure favourable bilateral trade deals
with key export markets. India, for example, is a growing
market for Scotch but we are being held back by a 150% import
tariff. EU talks with India have proved challenging for
a decade now and we hope the UK will now take a fresh approach to
securing an ambitious trade agreement.
"We want the UK to have an open and liberal trading policy, to put
transitional arrangements in place that minimise trade disruption
after Brexit, and to negotiate better global arrangements than we
currently have. An even more trade-focused British embassy network
around the world will be needed to make this happen.
"The UK should be a voice for open markets globally. The more
open the market, the more Scotch Whisky exports will grow to the
benefit of the wider economy."
The SWA will provide regular updates on Brexit and the impact on
Scotch Whisky. David Frost is available for interview to discuss
any of the aspects covered in this SWA statement.
The SWA is happy to provide further comment pieces on the
implications for Scotch Whisky of Brexit.
David Frost is also a member of the Scottish Government's
Standing Council on Europe, in a personal capacity.
With media enquiries please contact David Williamson, SWA
director of public affairs and communications, 0131 222 9226 or
07730 496151 or email email@example.com