There are over 650 barriers in 120
export markets. Tackling such barriers is critical to the future of
the industry and to the Scottish and UK economy.
The Scotch Whisky Association's Global Affairs Department (GAD)
strives to ensure Scotch Whisky can be sold without undue
restriction and on equal terms with all other spirit drinks
- Promoting, supporting or opposing legislative or other trade
related measures affecting Scotch Whisky
- Pursuing the removal of tariff and non tariff barriers to
- Providing a market information service to members
Scotch Whisky as an aspirational drink
The growing popularity of Scotch Whisky is driven by the
emergence of a more affluent middle class in many developing
economies around the world.
Consumers in Africa, Asia and Latin America, in particular, see
Scotch as an aspirational product, with which they celebrate their
economic and social success.
It is therefore unsurprising that all the Association's priority
markets are among the fastest developing countries globally:
The Indian whisky market at 150 million 9 litre cases is the
largest in the world but Scotch Whisky accounts for just 1% of
total whisky consumption, mainly as a result of the exorbitant
import duty of 150% applied by the Government of India.
Added complications for Scotch Whisky exporters arise from
India's federal structure. Responsibility for alcoholic drinks is
devolved to individual states in India, creating in effect 28
separate markets each with differing regulations, taxes and
restrictions. Securing improved market access to India is the
Association's number one trade priority.
Brazil is a top ten export market, despite Scotch Whisky
representing only 3% of the local spirits market. As the economy
continues to expand, the market offers significant future
But export growth is being held back by complex and
discriminatory tax arrangements, a 20% import tariff and
intellectual property and regulatory challenges. EU-Mercosur free
trade talks may offer an opportunity to make progress on these
It is difficult to do business in Russia. The industry faces a
wide range of trade barriers and potential future
Challenges include issues around the licensing and strip stamp
regimes, import notification and intellectual property
The Scotch Whisky Assocation is seeking a more transparent
operating environment, with imports treated in a non-discriminatory
manner in line with Russia's new WTO commitments. Direct and
indirect exports of Scotch Whisky combined are estimated at over
£130m a year making Russia the industry's seventh largest export
market in value terms.
With direct and indirect exports combined reaching an estimated
value of £100 million in Customs value alone, the rapidly growing
Chinese market is now among the industry's top ten
Locally produced spirits falsely labelled and sold as 'Scotch
Whisky' attempt to cash in on this success. As elsewhere, this is a
major issue both for the industry and Chinese consumers.
The Chinese government has been supportive in tackling the
issue. The registration of 'Scotch Whisky' in China as a
Geographical Indication of Origin in late 2010 really improved the
SWA's ability to protect against counterfeit of this kind by taking
legal action. The SWA had already secured the registration of
'Scotch Whisky' as a collective trade mark.
The reputation of the whisky category as a whole suffers when,
as also happens in China, inferior spirit is sold as 'whisky'. The
SWA is pursuing the introduction into Chinese legislation of a high
quality definition of whisky in line with EU/international