Skip to main content

Scotch Whisky (Tariff Barriers)

Volume 972: debated on Monday 22 October 1979

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Secretary of State for Trade what action he is taking to secure the removal of tariff barriers which discriminate against Scotch whisky.

The ratification of the agreements reached in the GATT multilateral trade negotiations will lead to significant reductions in the tariffs on whisky in a number of important overseas markets, particularly in the United States.

Will the Government ensure that the achievements of the previous Government will be implemented from 1 January of next year to ensure that there is no more encouragement to the export of bulk-blended whisky rather than bottled whisky to the United States? Furthermore, will the Minister urge the industry to end once and for all the scandal of the export of bulk malts to Japan, which is costing thousands of jobs in Scotland?

The hon. Gentleman should know that, subject to the satisfactory conclusion of negotiations on one or two small points, the Government intend to work hard to get the MTNs ratified so that they can come into effect on 1 January. I am sure the hon. Gentleman is aware that the export of bulk whisky is a controversial issue. Even the sector working party could not make up its mind about the matter. However, it is clear that any attempt to change the present arrangements would be against our GATT commitments.

With the prospect of Greece becoming a member of the EEC, will the Secretary of State press the Greek Government to remove the discriminatory price controls on Scotch whisky in Greece?