It is vitally important for the Scotch Whisky industry to continue having the “high platform” of a wide global reach offered by the United Kingdom, the Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore said today.
In a speech to the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) Members’ Day in Edinburgh the Minister said the sector’s recent successes in exports - which have increased in value by 23% in the last year - benefited from the UK’s worldwide network of trade contacts and diplomacy.
He said these provided an essential channel for Scotch Whisky, alongside many other Scottish industries, as it meant they had access to support from 2,500 UKTI staff and advisers, including those in embassies, high commissions, consulates and trade offices around the world. There are over 150 UKTI overseas offices in around 100 markets, covering 98% of world GDP.
Moore told the event the “export success you are currently seeing is hard won, and there remain future battles to break down trade barriers in key markets to ensure even greater long-term success.”
The Minister, who helped promote Scotch whisky on a trade visit to Brazil last year, said the UK Government was working closely with the industry to support its success.
He said: “The UK Government has the experience and clout to influence important discussions and decisions of direct relevance to the whisky industry: international trade negotiations, the reform of the CAP and international environmental agreements to name but a few.”
He added that the UK Government had worked with the SWA and other key representatives from the food and drink industry to develop the UK’s Food and Drink Export Action Plan. He said it set out targeted actions to help exporters use the UK’s influence to make the most of the huge global opportunities available.
“The UK provides a global network of immense value to business and industry and a high platform from which Scotland projects its interests around the world. The nations of our country exert more influence by standing together, in partnership, on the world stage. By pulling together - and pooling our resources and talents - we achieve so much more.”
Gavin Hewitt, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “We are delighted the Secretary of State for Scotland accepted our invitation to address a gathering of representatives from the Scotch Whisky industry at our Members’ Day in our Centenary year. Mr Moore’s participation is further recognition of the significance of the Scotch Whisky industry to the UK economy. The industry contributes £134 a second to the UK balance of trade. This achievement is, in part, a result of us working with the UK Government and its network of trade contacts across the globe.”