By Richard Thomas
Scotland’s Economy Secretary Keith Brown has made an official request for future legal protection of the Scotch industry after Brexit, writing to British ministers that Scotch whisky needs to be defined under UK law.
The Scotch whisky industry generates approximately £5 billion annually, with 4/5s of that revenue coming from exports, and supports 40,000 jobs.
The urgency in Scotland follows International Trade Secretary Liam Fox’s recent visit to the U.S. “The US made clear in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership discussions that they would support a relaxation of the definition of whisky, which would open the market up to a number of products which do not currently meet that standard,” said Brown.
The Scotch industry is currently protected from foreign infringements and sub-standard products partly by EU regulations, and partly by British law. After Brexit, British law would require an update just to maintain a notional version of the same standards and protections in force today.