EU-Canada trade deal ‘would boost Scotch’

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has urged MEPS to vote in favour of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

The SWA said CETA would bring a range of market access benefits and reduce the number of barriers to entry.

Canada is already Scotch Whisky’s 13th-largest market by value, with exports worth around £77 million a year.

The SWA said benefits of CETA for Scotch Whisky would include:

  • Fewer internal trading restrictions
  • A level playing field for intellectual property rights for EU products in Canada
  • Removal of the “market-distorting” effects of the Canadian liquor boards — several liquor boards are considering variable “mark-up” structures to imported products such as Scotch

“Another major breakthrough would be 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,” said the SWA.

“A minimum of 1% Canadian content must currently be added to imports, if the product is bottled by anyone other than the Canadian liquor boards.

“This requirement has a detrimental impact on Scotch Whisky bottled in Canada, after being made and matured in Scotland, as it cannot benefit from its GI status.”

The SWA said CETA would be good for the entire European distilling industry by boosting sales to Canada.

Spirits are the biggest agricultural-food export for the EU, worth €10 billion globally in 2015, and Scotch exports account for around £4 billion of the total, the SWA said.

Sarah Dickson, Scotch Whisky Association global affairs director, said: “We are proponents of open trade policies.

“We believe the initiatives contained within CETA would greatly contribute to the economic growth of not only the UK, but also of Europe as a whole.

“CETA will generate growth and jobs through the increased exports, lower barriers to trade and offer wider choice for consumers.

“CETA would deliver a wide range of benefits for Scotch Whisky and provide further opportunity in Canada which is already our 13th-biggest export market by value.

“With the Scotch Whisky industry supporting 40,000 jobs in the UK and adding value of £5 billion annually, any boosts from CETA would be good for the entire UK economy and export success.

“We are therefore urging MEPs to support CETA.”