Scotland: Deputy prime minister toasts whisky exports

UK: The deputy prime minister Nick Clegg MP raised a glass to scotch whisky exports – up 12% in the first ten months of 2010.

Clegg visited the Strathisla distillery in Keith, home to Chivas Regal whisky.

According to a statement from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), shipments totalled £2.8m between January and October.

Clegg said: ”I would like to raise a toast to the scotch whisky industry, as 2010 shapes up to have been a record year for exports.

”The dynamic Scotch whisky companies are making great strides to exploit new markets and new opportunities and the UK government will continue to do whatever we can to assist them. “We signed an agreement with China late last year to ensure there is greater legal protection for whisky in that country. I know from my talks in Scotland today that fair market access and tariff liberalisation in relation to India is a major priority in 2011.”

The full 2010 export data will be available later this year, but it was confirmed that in the first 10 months of the year there were significant increases in exports to the important emerging markets in Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the SWA, said: "Scotch whisky represents a quarter of all British food and drink exports and makes a significant contribution to the UK balance of trade. The industry and government work closely on securing fair access to our export markets. That is vital to scotch whisky's continued global success and its contribution to export-led economic growth. We are delighted to have the opportunity to discuss our trade priorities with the deputy prime minister during his visit."

Clegg also hosted a business summit in Aberdeen, where he discussed the private sector’s confidence in the UK economy and what further measures the government could take to promote job creation.

Clegg said: “The Government is determined to create the right environment for the private sector in Scotland to thrive: to create jobs, develop skills and ensure that the whole of United Kingdom has the opportunity to share in the country’s future prosperity.”