Scotch boosted by Latin American trade deals

Fair Trade Agreements between the EU and Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama will come into force today, according to the Scotch Whisky Association.

The SWA says the FTAs will boost exports to central and South America, which in 2012 stood at £505m, growing at a rate of 3%.

Scotch whisky will be recognised as a geographical indication (GI) in the aforementioned Latin American countries while new rules to end discriminatory tax arrangements will be introduced.

This is likely to open the door to increased sales, building on Scotch whisky exports of £4m to Colombia last year, £0.2m in Nicaragua and £0.4m in Honduras. 

In Panama – the category’s 20th largest market by value, rising by 9% to £53m last year - there will be an immediate end to the import tariff.

While the Colombian government has agreed to reform its discriminatory excise tax on spirit drinks by August 2015 and its provincial liquor monopolies will be required to treat imported and domestic products equally.

The developments follow an FTA with Peru in March, which, according to the SWA, resulted in immediate tariff elimination and protection for the Scotch Whisky GI.  

Agreements are also afoot to extend trade relations with Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala, coming into effect later this year, said the SWA.

David Williamson, SWA deputy director of international affairs, said: “We have worked hard with the UK Government and the European Commission to ensure these agreements with Colombia and Central America will make a significant difference to the trading environment for Scotch whisky.

“The agreements will support economic growth, remove trade barriers and create a more level playing field for Scotch whisky.  The measures will give another boost to the already growing consumer demand for Scotch whisky.”