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UK: Scotch industry lobbies WTO

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Representatives of The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) are travelling to Mexico to hold face to face meetings with government trade negotiators attending the WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancun, Mexico (10-14 September).

The SWA wants to highlight the fact that Scotch whisky continues to face a trade barrier in 130 of the 200 countries to which it is exported.

Peter Wilkinson, the SWA's manager for WTO Affairs, said: "With 90% of Scotch whisky sales overseas, it is vitally important for the industry and the wider Scottish economy to secure international trade rules that support freer access to markets. Despite Scotch Whisky's global success, trade barriers ranging from protective tariffs in the likes of India (166%) and Thailand (66%) to onerous labelling and inappropriate technical requirements in China, prevent Scotch reaching its full potential. The WTO talks therefore offer an opportunity to highlight what should be done to make Scotch more easily available to consumers by liberalising trade.

"The key priority for Scotch Whisky is for governments to tackle high tariffs which restrict market access by making imported spirits unaffordable to most consumers. We are also going to Mexico to push for greater certainty of legal protection for spirits with geographical indications, such as Scotch, and the introduction of simplified import and export procedures.

"Such measures would greatly improve the international environment in which Scottish distillers operate. In turn, we believe this will create new opportunities to expand exports abroad, accompanied by additional jobs and investment at home."


Sectors: Spirits

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