Trade deal talks
Truss pledges whisky boost from Australia deal
Liz Truss: next generation deals
Scotch whisky distillers could benefit from a UK-Australia trade deal, says a UK government minister in the latest attempt to sell the package to UK food and drink producers.
The International Trade Secretary Liz Truss wants to remove the 5% tariff on Scotch and is also hoping for improved legal protection for whisky in the Australian market which is the 8th biggest market for Scotch exports, worth £113 million last year.
The move comes amid ongoing concern about the impact of a zero-tariff deal on Scottish farmers who fear a flood of cheap beef into the UK.
A tentative agreement is understood to have been pencilled in for the week after the G7 summit in Cornwall from 11 to 13 June.
Scott Morrison, the prime minister of Australia, will join the gathering of western leaders and is expected to stay on for bilateral talks.
A deal with Australia would be the first in a series of “next generation of trade deals” that the UK Government wants to strike with large and fast-growing consumer markets beyond Europe, which aim to slash tariffs on British exports like whisky and boost trade and investment in future-facing industries such as services, low-carbon technology and digital trade.
About 800 Scottish businesses export £321 million worth of goods to Australia.
Ms Truss said: “A UK-Australia trade agreement would be significant for Scotch whisky and the Union. Part of the promise of leaving the EU was striking deals with countries well beyond Europe, opening new opportunities for iconic British goods like Scotch overseas.
“I am fighting hard to get these tariffs cut and secure a deal that benefits producers in Scotland and helps the whole of the UK.”
Minister for Exports, Graham Stuart, added: “From whisky to shortbread, Scotland offers an array of food and drink that many can enjoy and, thanks to the imminent UK-Australia trade deal, more people than ever will be able to do just that.
“As we continue to reduce trade barriers and cut red tape, UK businesses and consumers can be assured that they will benefit from all the trade deals we are signing with countries across the world.
“The 800 Scottish businesses exporting goods to Australia last year are no exception to this and the others that will join them will only further showcase the very best Britain has to offer.”