The Scotch Whisky Association believes the reductions will provide a "welcome boost" for Scotch

The Scotch Whisky Association believes the reductions will provide a "welcome boost" for Scotch

Industry trade groups have welcomed a move by China to cut tariffs on imports of some spirits categories.

The Scotch Whisky Association and SpiritsEurope said the decision, announced by China's finance ministry today, will aid growing demand in the country for premium spirits. Tariff reductions include halving levies on whisk(e)y from 10% to 5% and a cut from 65% to 14% for vermouth, Bloomberg has reported.

The SWA said the whisk(e)y cut was "another welcome boost" for Scotch that should further help sales in China. A spokesperson for the group told just-drinks that demand for Scotch in the country grew in the first six months of the year, with direct exports alone up 45% year-on-year, to GBP27m (US$36m).

Meanwhile, European trade body SpiritsEurope said the move would improve access for its members to Europe's third-largest export market, adding that it hopes the cuts will extend to other spirits categories.

"The main developed markets, including the EU, US and Canada have eliminated tariffs on spirits," a spokesperson for SpiritsEurope told just-drinks. "China is opening up, offering greater choice to consumers with quality spirits."

Today's tariff cuts on alcohol form part of a broader package of reductions announced by China and follow in the wake of President Xi JinPing's call last month to improve living standards, Bloomberg said.

An analyst was quoted as saying the move is intended to send a signal that China is "committed to advancing global trade". 

The cuts, which affect 187 product categories altogether, reportedly take effect on 1 December.

Why is China good for one Cognac producer, and bad for another? - Click here for a just-drinks comment

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