SWA welcomes EU-Thailand trade talks
08 Mar 2013
Scotch Whisky exports to mature and emerging markets across the
world continue to grow. But such success is the result of much hard
work to create fair and stable trading conditions. For an industry
exporting well in excess of 90% of production, it's vital to ensure
that Scotch is not subject to discriminatory practices in overseas
That's why we welcome this week's launch of Free Trade Agreement
(FTA) negotiations between the European Union (EU) and Thailand.
Thailand is a significant market for Scotch Whisky, as is much of
Asia, although Thailand itself exports more alcohol than it
imports. But we do not enjoy a level playing field there, not least
due to the punitive 60% import tariff on imported spirits.
This is high by regional standards, compared with 10% in China, 10%
currently in Korea and 0% in Taiwan.
Thailand has also for many years maintained an excise tax regime
that discriminates against imported spirits, notably Scotch Whisky,
in breach of its World Trade Organisation obligations. The FTA
represents an opportunity to address this and other regulatory
Scotch Whisky, like other internationally traded spirits, is a
premium product. It will never account for a large share of
alcohol consumption in any market. Indeed, as Thailand's
Minister of Commerce Boonsong stated recently in connection with
the FTA, imported alcohol makes up less than 1.8% of overall
consumption in Thailand. That market share is unlikely to
increase significantly should an FTA be concluded. But the
FTA will enable Thai consumers to trade up to premium Scotch Whisky
brands, building on current trends in the market.
Martin Bell, SWA Deputy Director, Asia Pacific and