The Scotch Whisky Association has welcomed the Indian government's plans to abolish the additional duty levied on imported spirits.

The Government confirmed the move today (4 July). The additional customs tax ranged from 20% to 150%, although the Government upped the basic customs duty on wine to 150% from 100%.

"Abolition of the discriminatory Additional Duty is a significant step towards fair competition in an important emerging market for Scotch Whisky," said SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt. "The SWA has long campaigned for reform as the duty has unfairly restricted market access in contravention of WTO rules.

The Association noted, however, that a basic customs duty of 150% will continue to apply to imported spirits, although "new possibilities" will still open up for Scottish distillers, the SWA added. "This is also good news for Indian consumers, who can look forward to a greater choice of internationally renowned Scotch Whisky brands," Hewitt concluded.

India's taxes on imported spirits have been a major bugbear for many spirits trade bodies. The current overall tariff and tax burden on imported Scotch Whisky is as high as 550%, according to the SWA.