The deal between South Korea and the EU has been welcomed by the SWA

The deal between South Korea and the EU has been welcomed by the SWA


The Scotch whisky industry has welcomed the European Council's approval of a free trade agreement with South Korea.

The EC said today (16 September) that the agreement “provides for the progressive liberalisation by both parties of trade in goods and services, as well as rules on trade-related issues such as competition and state aid, intellectual property and public procurement”.

The deal between the two, initially agreed last year, is expected to be signed at the EU-South Korea summit in Brussels on 6 October and should take effect from 1 July next year. The agreement requires both the EU and South Korea to eliminate 98.7% of duties in trade value for both industry and agriculture within five years, and to eliminate remaining tariffs almost fully over longer periods.

For Scotch whisky specifically, the deal will see the 20% import duty on Scotch eliminated over a three-year period, while South Korea will recognise and protect EU geographical indications of origin, including the term 'Scotch Whisky'.

Welcoming the announcement today, a spokesperson for trade body the Scotch Whisky Association said: “Tariff elimination in South Korea has been a key SWA trade priority for a number of years and an issue we've pursued both in Brussels and Seoul. It is a welcome boost for Scotch whisky exports in what is already a major market for Scottish distillers.”

South Korea is the EU's eighth-largest trading partner and the seventh-largest export market for Scotch Whisky, with shipments of GBP112.5m (US$175m) in 2009.

To read the official release from the European Council, click here.