After Brexit Vote, Scotch Whisky Association Presses Free-Trade Cause
Even without its ties to the European Union, will the U.K. remain focused on free trade? That question is on the minds of members of the Scotch Whisky Association, whose leader asked the government for answers this week.
The Scotch whisky industry has a lot to lose in the United Kingdom’s transition away from the European Union, given that it is driven almost entirely by exports.
And as the Brexit process continues, the Scotch Whisky Association is asking for some clarity—particularly regarding trade issues that could affect the industry’s future growth.
In a statement released Wednesday, SWA raised a variety of issues that it says will need to be addressed by British government officials, including what kind of trade agreement the U.K. hopes to have with the European Union once the country is no longer a part of it, how the U.K. plans to work with other countries, and how the government will handle customs enforcement.
“Scotch Whisky is one of the U.K.’s most successful exports. We are calling on the U.K. government to bring clarity to the transition to Brexit as soon as possible, and to negotiate to ensure that the current open trading environment is not affected,” said SWA CEO David Frost. “Finding practical ways forward on export practicalities and on free-trade agreements should be high on the agenda as negotiations begin in the coming months. We plan to play an active role in influencing this whole process to ensure that Scotch remains a product enjoyed across the globe.”
In a blog post, Frost urged the British government to negotiate exit terms that would allow the U.K. to continue participating in EU free-trade agreements and to establish its own agreements with other countries.
“Scotch Whisky is a global free-trading industry. The last thing we want is for Brexit to make Britain inward-looking and defensive,” Frost wrote. “I hope the government can be clear soon about the kind of trade policy Britain will have. Our interests are in open markets and free trade, and a focus on measures that can give Scotch even better access to world markets than now.”