PM Pushes For Indian Tariff Cuts On UK Whisky

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to push the Indian government to cut tariffs on British whisky during talks in April. Johnson had been due to fly to India to discuss the future UK-India partnership in person, but the trip has been postponed due to rising coronavirus cases in the country. The talks will take place remotely instead.

Scotch whisky currently faces a hefty 150% tariff in India. As a result, Britain only has a 2% share of the 50 million bottles sold in India every year, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) reports. Securing access to improved market conditions in India is the SWA’s number one trade priority.

Prime Ministers Modi and Johnson are expected to launch ambitious plans for a re-energised trade and investment deal. According to the Financial Times , Johnson aims to more than double trade Britain’s overall trade with India to £50bn by 2030.

The High Commission of India in London said last week, "The visit of PM Johnson is expected to positively transform the partnership across the wide-spectrum of issues and areas relating to Defence and Security, the Indo-Pacific and Western Indian Ocean Region (WIOR), Trade and Investments, Health care, Climate Change and people-to-people connect.”

India is a prime target for the whisky industry, as there is a burgeoning middle-class who are looking to trade up to globally recognised brands, and move on from less prestigious Indian-Made Foreign Liquor.

Improved affordability of Scotch whisky in the Indian market could lead to huge profit increases for the industry. However, free trade negotiations with India have a difficult history, so some sources are warning that any agreement may take a number of years to bear fruit.

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