Scottish Secretary visits Islay distilleries
SCOTTISH Secretary David Mundell met representatives of the Scotch Whisky Association and Diageo at the Caol Ila distillery on Islay yesterday (Thursday August 3) to discuss how the UK government is hoping to reduce export tariffs on Scottish produce.
Whisky is worth around £ 5 billion to the UK economy, and accounts for three- quarters of Scotland’s total food and drink exports.
The UK government is hoping to ensure that, as we leave the EU, the industry is able to tackle tariffs and boost overseas sales.
Mr Mundell 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.’
For whisky, export tariffs currently range from zero to more than 150 per cent. The UK government is looking at how future trade agreements could reduce export tariffs for iconic Scottish goods such as whisky, smoked salmon and gin.
Mr Mundell visited the building site of the Ardnahoe distillery, set to be the ninth distillery on Islay when it opens next year.
Overlooking the Sound of Islay and Paps of Jura, it is set to bring more jobs to Scotland’s third biggest industry, which already employs more than 7,000 people in Scotland’s rural communities.
Karen Betts, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said: ‘The Scotch whisky industry is delighted that Mr Mundell is visiting Islay.
‘He saw the importance of the Scotch whisky industry to Islay’s communities, and how whisky production there contributes more broadly to the Scottish and British economies.’
David Mundell meets Stewart, Scott and Andrew Laing at Ardnahoe Distillery, on the east coast of Islay.