STRIKING a trade deal with the growing economies of the Pacific region could bring major benefits to Ross-shire's booming whisky sector, according to UK international trade secretary Liam Fox.
The area’s whisky exports have increased thanks to growing taste for whisky in Asian markets and Mr Fox believes the industry could see further gains if the UK signed up to the new Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), after Britain’s exit from the EU on March 29.
The CPTPP came into force on December 30, with the aim of eliminating tariffs on 95 per cent of goods traded between member states. The agreement covers 11 countries around the Pacific rim, including trading partners like Australia, Canada and Japan, as well as some of the world’s fastest growing economies like Malaysia and Vietnam.
Scotch whisky exports currently facetariff charges which make them more expensive for consumers.
Mr Fox said: “Total trade between the UK and CPTPP members was worth £95 billion last year andthe UK joining could help British businesses further establish a foothold in the Asia-Pacific region, which will be an engine of growth in the 21stcentury.
“The Scotch whisky industry supports more than 40,000 jobs across the UK, 7000 of them in rural areas, providing vital employment and investment.”