Scotch puts down marker for role in Pacific trading bloc

The Scotch Whisky Association has voiced its support for the UK's potential involvement in a new trade agreement that could boost the sector's exports.

The Diageo Claive Vidiz whisky collection at Edinburgh's Scotch Whisky Experience. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which came into force today, will eliminate tariffs on 95 per cent of goods traded between 11 states around the Pacific rim, including Canada, Australia and Japan.

CPTPP nations account for 17.8 per cent of Scotch whisky exports and were worth £850 million in 2017/18, an increase of 13.2 per cent on the previous year. Joining the trade bloc could bring significant savings for businesses in the Scotch whisky sector, which face tariff charges on exports to CPTPP countries.

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The Department for International Trade has laid the groundwork for future trade negotiations to join the CPTPP after the UK leaves the EU.

Martin Bell, deputy director for trade at the Scotch Whisky Association said: “The agreement already encompasses many important and growing markets for Scotch whisky in a high-growth region. With more countries likely to join in the future, UK accession to CPTPP in time would be good for UK exporters.

“This includes success stories like Scotch whisky, which supports over 40,000 jobs across the UK and accounts for 20 per cent of all UK food and drink exports.”