High import tariffs on Scotch whisky will discussed in a meeting between Scotch Whisky Association CEO Gavin Hewitt and senior officials from the Colombian Government this week.

Hewitt will speak with Colombia's ministers of finance and trade in Bogota this week, following the restart of free trade talks between Colombia and the EU.

The priority for the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) will be to gain assurances that a 20% import tariff on Scotch will be eliminated as part of a trade deal with the EU.

"Colombia has the potential to become an increasingly important and dynamic market for Scotch Whisky," said Hewitt, adding that eliminating the tariff would provide more revenue for the Colombian authorities.

Scotch Whisky exports to Colombia were valued at GBP17m in 2007, up from GBP7m in 1998, according to the latest SWA figures, making Colombia the 30th largest export market for Scotch.

Talks with Colombia come as the SWA is already heavily engaged in negotiations on a free trade deal between the EU and South Korea, the fifth largest market in the world for Scotch.