EU trade deal with Vietnam opens doors for Scotch whisky exports

David Frost
David Frost

Scotch whisky exports to Vietnam could be boosted after the European Union reached a deal in principle over a free trade agreement (FTA) with the south east Asian country.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said the deal should encourage future expansion in Vietnam for the industry which last year directly exported £3.5 million of Scotch to the south east Asian country, up more than 9 per cent on the previous year.

Although the deal still needs approval by the European Council and European Parliament, SWA chief executive David Frost welcomed the news.

He explained issues affecting exports to Vietnam had included the country’s 45 per cent import tariff on spirits.

He said: “Vietnam is a growing market for Scotch whisky. The FTA will help as it will gradually phase out the tariff and it will tackle other trade restrictions.”

The agreement comes after two and a half years of talks, and the FTA will eliminate over 99 per cent of tariffs on and will apply to Champagne, Rioja and other European geographically identified products.

A geographical indication is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place.

And, under the terms of the deal, farmers and small businesses that produce food or drink with traditional methods will benefit from the recognition and protection on the Vietnamese market - at a comparable level to that of EU legislation - of European food and drink products from a specific geographical region.

The deal means the use of geographical indicators for a total of 169 food and drinks products, including these beverages, will be reserved in Vietnam for products imported from the European regions where they traditionally come from.

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