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12 April 2019

SWA statement on Article 50 extension

Karen Betts
SWA Chief Executive comments on the extension of Article 50 to 31st October 2019.

Commenting on the extension of Article 50 to the end of October, SWA Chief Executive Karen Betts said:

“The Scotch Whisky industry welcomes the extension of the Article 50 negotiation period to the end of October, removing the immediate threat of a no-deal Brexit and giving more time for consensus to be found.   

“It is vital that MPs use this additional time wisely. If politicians’ positions over the next six months are as intractable as they have been over the last two years then we will be back in exactly the same position in October. A lack of agreement in October will pose our industry real challenges because at that point we will be entering our busiest time of year.    

“The current uncertainty is making business decisions across the Scotch Whisky industry difficult, and we have spent millions of pounds on no-deal planning. The substantial costs we have incurred is money that could have been spent more productively in continuing to stimulate growth in our industry and in boosting exports.    

“We urge politicians to find a way forward, which will involve compromise on all sides. Then we can move on to clarifying the terms of the UK’s future relationship with the EU.    

“In that future trade partnership, we want to see minimal changes to the costs and processes of exporting to Europe, minimal divergence on regulations, and continued UK influence on trade policy. Whether this can be achieved in or out of a customs union is for negotiators to resolve.”