SWA welcomes potential export boost from EU trade deal with Canada

The Scotch Whisky Association has welcomed a Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada which came into force this week.

The deal delivers a range of market access improvements which pave the way for future export growth for Scotch in Canada, the SWA said.

Benefits include fewer internal trading restrictions, a level playing field for intellectual property rights for EU products in Canada and the removal of what the SWA said were “market-distorting effects” of the Canadian liquor boards.

A major breakthrough is the removal of the current requirement in Canada to blend local spirit with bulk imports of spirit drinks with a geographical indication (GI), such as Scotch whisky.

Under this requirement, a minimum of 1% Canadian content had to be added to imports if the product was bottled by anyone other than the Canadian liquor boards.

The SWA said this requirement had a negative impact on Scotch Whisky bottled in Canada after being made and matured in Scotland, as it could not benefit from its GI status.

SWA chief executive Karen Betts said: "Open markets matter to Scotch whisky and CETA delivers benefits that will help to promote fair competition and grow our exports to Canada.

“With the Scotch Whisky industry supporting 40,000 jobs and adding value of £5 billion annually, the boost to trade from CETA will be good for the entire UK economy and export success.

“As we move towards Brexit, we are calling for the UK to pursue an ambitious global trade policy.

“A first priority will be to ensure the benefits of existing trade deals, such as CETA, will continue to be enjoyed by UK businesses. We are calling on the UK government then to pursue a series of new trade deals with markets around the world.”

Canada is Scotch whisky's 15th largest market by value, with exports worth more than £73 million a year.