Scotch whisky brought nations closer in past, but now hindering UK-India free trade? What UK minister says

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Updated: May 24, 2018 12:27 PM

The globally famed Scottish whisky has historically helped Britain bridge borders with different countries. But with India, ‘whisky’ is acting as a major stumbling block.

Whisky is probably the best known of Scotland’s manufactured products. (Reuters)

The globally-famed Scottish whisky has historically helped Britain bridge borders with different countries. But with India, ‘whisky’ is acting as a major stumbling block for the United Kingdom (UK) in reaching a free trade deal. The high import tariff on whisky imposed by India is a major reason is not allowing closing down a free trade agreement with the country, said the trade secretary in the Theresa May government. During a debate on trade agreements on Commonwealth countries in the House of Commons, Britain once again urged India to lower the tariffs on whisky imports from the country. Whisky and visas are the two of the main obstacles in the deal, said the UK trade secretary, Liam Fox. The UK comprises four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Scotland is world famous for its Scotch Whiskies.

The Scotch Whisky Association, based out of Edinburg, has been campaigning for the last many years to urge India to reduce import duty on Scottish Whisky. The free trade agreement with India will help provide a boost to Scotch whisky consumption in India, where it faces 150 percentage import tariff, Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said last year.

World’s common love for Sctoch Whisky

Whisky is probably the best known of Scotland’s manufactured products. Scotch Whisky exports contribute UK economy, making up a quarter of all its food and drink revenues. The US is the largest market for Scotch whisky, followed by France.

It is also one of the UK’s overall top five manufacturing export earners and it supports over 35,000 jobs. The Scotch whisky exports surged 9 percent to £4.36bn in 2017, the strongest growth in six years, helped by a weak pound and demand from China and Russia, the UK export data said.

India-UK week

In order to promote bilateral trade and investments through a series of events that includes attendance of ministers and professionals from both countries, the UK-India Week will be held in Britain next month. The event will be held from June 18-22 in London and Buckinghamshire. The events will culminate with the UK-India Awards to recognise individuals and organisations based in both countries that make a significant impact on the UK-India strategic partnership.

 

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