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Concern over substandard imports

Brown warns of US threat to whisky industry

BenRiach whiskyEconomy Secretary Keith Brown has called for protection of the Scotch whisky industry amid fears of an influx of sub-standard spirits if the UK strikes a trade deal with the US after Brexit.

Mr Brown has called for the current EU definition of whisky to be applied into UK Law after the UK leaves the EU.

His call follows International Trade Secretary Liam Fox’s visit to the US last week.

The Scotch whisky industry currently employs around 10,000 people, with another 10,000 employed indirectly in the supply chain.

Mr Brown said: “Aside from being a key part of Scottish culture and identity, our whisky industry supports around 20,000 jobs.

“The US made clear in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership discussions that they would support a relaxation of the definition of whisky, which would open the market up to a number of products which do not currently meet that standard.

“Whisky is a product which is worth around £4 billion to Scotland in exports. It is vital that we continue to have robust legal protection of Scotch whisky, which is why I have sought clarification from the UK Government as to whether Scotch whisky featured in discussions during last week’s trade visit by the Secretary of State for International Trade. I am also demanding that the current EU regulations are guaranteed post-Brexit.

‘After reports this week that the UK Government is contemplating trade deals that that threaten the value and reputation of Scottish produce, once again we can see the confusion which is at the heart of the UK Government’s Brexit position.

“We need to be sure that any future deals work for Scotland and are not threatening the livelihoods of our farmers and producers. This is why all four UK Governments should have oversight of the negotiations to ensure, as far as possible, that the right outcomes for everyone are secured.”

A spokesman for the UK Government said: “Scotch is a UK export success story and we will support the industry so that it continues to thrive and prosper post-Brexit.

“The UK Government has a strong relationship with the Scotch Whisky Association and is working closely with the industry as we aim to secure the best possible deal for the whole of the UK.”

 

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