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International Trade

Scotch Whisky is the world's number one internationally traded spirit with exports worth over £6bn in 2022. 53 bottles of Scotch Whisky are shipped every second to around 180 global markets, totalling the equivalent of 1.67bn bottles (70cl @40% ABV).

Learn more about the industry's 2022 export figures

Key Markets

Here are some examples of markets where the SWA and our member companies work to improve access to the market for Scotch Whisky.


In 2022, India became the Scotch Whisky industry's largest global market by volume - but Scotch Whisky accounts for just 2% of the whisky market in India, which is the largest in the world. This is partly due to the 150% tariff applied by the Government of India, but the country’s federal structure also complicates the market for the industry with responsibility for alcohol devolved to individual states in India, creating in effect 28 separate markets each with differing regulations, taxes and restrictions.

Securing improved market access to India is the Association's number one trade priority.

Learn more about the Indian market here.

European Union

With exports worth almost £1.6bn, the EU is the second largest regional market for Scotch Whisky. 

Four EU member states - France, Germany, Spain and Poland - are amongst our Top 10 export markets by volume. Retaining frictionless access to the EU’s Internal Market post-Brexit and tackling existing or potential trade barriers in the individual Member States is a priority for the SWA.

Download the 2022 Scotch Whisky export infographic here


Brazil is a top market for Scotch Whisky in Latin America, with 93m 70cl bottles exported to the market in 2022. Compared to other markets globally it is the 4th largest market by volume.

As the Brazilian economy has grown over the last decade, spirits consumption has become more diverse with categories such as cachaça and local brandy, whisky, and rum being supplemented with international products such as Scotch Whisky.

We believe Brazil has significant future potential for Scotch Whisky but there are still challenges. A complicated tax structure, high import tariff and a difficult import regime make trade a costly and bureaucratic process. Working to address these issues is a high priority for the SWA. 



China is the largest spirits market in the world and is an important emerging market for the Scotch Whisky industry.  The value of direct exports has grown from under £10 million in the early 2000s to around £230 million in 2022; with increasing prosperity, it has the potential to grow much more. 

The import tariff is low at 5% but access can be complicated. The SWA works with the UK government and spiritsEUROPE colleagues to ensure that Scotch Whisky can be imported smoothly into China. Regulatory proposals can be varied and currently include a Harmonised Export Certificate, a company registration proposal and changes to the existing labelling requirements.


South Africa

South Africa is a Top 10 market by volume and by far the largest market in Africa. Exports in 2022 were worth £104 million. The export of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies has risen in the last few years and they now constitute 4% of total export volume. Tariff-free market access has been maintained post-Brexit, however the removal of existing non-tariff barriers would improve the trading environment further.

UK-India trade talks

Learn more about the importance of the Indian market for Scotch Whisky, and how the Scotch Whisky industry can benefit from a UK-India trade deal.

news & commentary

17 August 2023

Scotch Whisky Exports Hold Steady After Record Year

Scotch Whisky exports in first half of 2023 show value holding steady while volume falls.

31 March 2023

SWA comments on UK accession to CPTPP

The SWA has commented on what the UK joining CPTPP means for the Scotch Whisky industry

22 March 2022

SWA welcomes suspension of UK tariffs on US whiskey

The UK has announced the suspension of tariffs on US whiskey

11 February 2022

2021 exports show industry on road to recovery

The SWA has released the 2021 global export figures for Scotch Whisky.

16 December 2021

SWA welcomes UK-Australia Trade Deal

The SWA has welcomed the elimination of the 5% tariff on Scotch Whisky.

11 December 2020

SWA welcomes UK-Vietnam trade agreement

The Scotch Whisky Association has welcomed the announcement of a trade agreement between the UK and Vietnam as good news for Scotch Whisky producers.

23 November 2020

UK-Canada agreement good news for Scotch Whisky exports

The SWA's statement on the UK-Canada trade agreement.

09 June 2020

UK-Japan talks can set tone for international trade ambitions

The SWA comments on the start of UK-Japan trade talks.

02 July 2019

SWA comments on USTR tariff list


10 January 2022

UK-India FTA Priorities

Find out more about the Scotch Whisky industry's priorities in UK-India trade talks.