David Mundell is spearheading a bid to protect Scotch whisky producers from inferior imitations in Mozambique.
The Scottish Secretary was in Maputo on Monday 15 February, on the second day of his visit to Mozambique and Malawi.
He held talks with Ernesto Tonela, Mozambique’s Minister of Industry and Commerce, as part of his drive to promote Scottish exports in the rapidly-growing African state.
Mr Mundell lobbied Mr Tonela to grant Scotch whisky geographic indication status to help producers market its premium status and be protected from imitations.
Imports of whisky to Mozambique have risen dramatically in recent years and the Scotch Whisky Association believe it, along with many other parts of Africa, are a potentially valuable export market.
Scotch whisky has a premium image and geographical indication status will enhance this, as well as helping protect it against attempts by counterfeiters to cash in on its success.
As part of the drive to promote Scotch in Mozambique, Mr Mundell hosted a reception last night [Monday 15 February] at the High Commissioner’s residence in Maputo under the UK Government’s ‘Exporting is GREAT’ banner.
Guests were drawn from the business, political and cultural worlds. There was a Scotch whisky tasting (courtesy William Grant & Sons and supported by Diageo), a performance of the witches from Macbeth, and the residence chef’s famous fusion haggis samosas.
Mr Mundell said:
Whisky is one of Scotland’s greatest success stories and it is important that our exporters get all the support they deserve.
Our firms adhere to the highest standards and make a product which is recognised the world over. They should be protected from imitators, and consumers in Mozambique and elsewhere should be able to have confidence that what they are drinking is the real thing.
I am delighted to be able to promote the industry during this visit to Africa and I look forward to sharing some of the joys of Scotch with my hosts.
David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said:
It is great to see that Scotch Whisky is in such demand in Mozambique and we expect its popularity to increase as the country’s economy grows. We have the same positive outlook for many African countries with a growing-middle class seeking out high-quality imported products such as Scotch.
We are pleased that the British Government is supporting Scotch Whisky in Mozambique through the Secretary of State for Scotland’s visit. As well as raising the profile of Scotch and the opportunities for producers, the visit is also a chance to talk about some of the challenges to doing business, for example high levels of taxation on Scotch in Mozambique.