Is whisky hindering UK-India free trade?
Scottish Whisky Association has been campaigning for the last several years for a reduced import duty on scotch whiskies coming into India. The countries were looking to enter into a free trade agreement to boost the consumption of scotch in India.
India has one of the biggest whisky markets, however its tariffs are restrictive and lowering them could present with a great market opportunity. While whisky has always served to bridge gaps and bring nations closer, in India, it is proving to be an obstacle to reaching an agreement with the UK. With a 150% import tariff on the product, the UK government has reached out to say that this is hampering the closing of a free trade deal with India.
During a recent debate on trade agreements in the House of Commons, Britain once again prompted India to lower their whisky import tariffs. According to UK Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, visas and whisky are the two main stumbling blocks to closing the deal.
Followed by the US, France is the largest market for scotch whisky. The best known of what Scotland has to offer, scotch contributes greatly to the UK economy. Over the last six years, exports have not just supported over 35,000 jobs but seen a surge of 9% to 4.36 billion pound in 2017 with tremendous demand in places like Russia and China. Most recent data from the Scottish Whisky Association shows that the volume of 70cl bottles exported to India in the first half of 2016 jumped from 29.1 million to 41 million.
With an aim to promote bilateral trade and investments through related events, ministers and professionals will be attending the UK-India week, taking place between June 18 to 22, 2018, in London and Buckinghamshire. The UK-India awards will recognise individuals and organisations that have contributed to a partnership between the two countries.
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