The UK government is seeking to reduce the high tariffs imposed on the overseas sales of unique Scottish produce, such as whisky, smoked salmon and gin.
Tariffs can be particularly high in some markets, preventing UK businesses from making the most of the overseas demand for their products. For Scotch whisky, these tariffs can be over 150% of the value of the product. Tariffs on gin can reach similar levels, whilst smoked salmon tariffs average 13%.
The UK government is now looking at how future trade agreements with other nations could reduce these for products post-Brexit. The Department for International Trade is also investigating how reductions in non-tariff barriers to trade – such as complex regulation and licensing rules – could form part of future negotiations in key markets, providing a further boost to British exports.
With whisky boosting the UK economy by over £5 billion a year, and accounting for 20% of total food and drink exports, Scottish Secretary David Mundell said ministers are keen to open up new markets around the world.
The Scottish Secretary said: “Scotch whisky is a world-class product, globally recognised for its quality and heritage, and the industry employs thousands of people in Scotland and around the rest of the UK.
“We are determined to open up new markets around the world for the very best whisky our distillers have to offer - and to drive down any tariffs they face.
“By strengthening ties with key partners, identifying new markets and tackling tariffs, the UK Government is paving the way towards an even brighter future for Scotland’s whisky industry.”
Secretary of State for International Trade Dr Liam Fox said: “With the recent uplift in trade, we should raise a glass to our exporting success and further help UK businesses make the most of an ever-growing demand for top-selling British products such as Scotch whisky as part of a Global Britain.
“Reducing the costs for companies to sell overseas will become one way of further opening up free trade routes and boosting sales, and that’s why I’ve tasked my international economic department to look at how we can support more businesses to build their brands abroad.”