'Golden opportunity'

Whisky tax hope as UK-India trade talks open

Mark Kent: opening the market

A free trade agreement between the UK and India would offer a ‘golden opportunity’ to cut the high tariff imposed on Scotch whisky, says the sector’s trade body.

UK International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan will meet Indian minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal, in New Delhi on Thursday to formally start talks on a deal.    

India is one of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economies and UK businesses hope to be at the front of the queue to supply its growing middle class.

Among a range of targets, the UK Government wants to see a reduction in duties of up to 150% on whisky exports, offering a boost to distilleries and the whole spirits industry.

Mark Kent, newly-appointed chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “Launching UK/India trade talks offers a golden opportunity to reach an ambitious tariff reduction in an early harvest deal that could grow Scotch Whisky exports to India by £1 billion over five years.

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