The UK is looking to slash tariffs on Scotch whisky exports in a potential Australia trade deal, according to the Department for International Trade.
International trade secretary Liz Truss has made it a priority to slash the five per cent tariffs on Scotch whisky in the deal to increase opportunities for domestic distillers.
Australia is currently the eighth largest market for Scotch whisky, with exports totaling £113m last year.
The UK and Australia have both agreed to a timeline of agreeing to an in-principle trade deal this month.
It would be the first trade deal from scratch the UK has signed since leaving the EU.
“Part of the promise of leaving the EU was striking deals with countries well beyond Europe, opening new opportunities for iconic British goods like Scotch overseas,” Truss said.
The announcement comes after a cabinet row over whether to remove all tariffs on Australian agricultural exports erupted last month.
The Prime Minister has sided with Truss who wants to completely open up the British market to Australian beef, lamb and wine products.
Environment secretary George Eustice, meanwhile, has lobbied for some quotas to remain to protect British farmers.
Sophia Gaston, director at the British Foreign Policy Group, said today’s release on Scotch whisky was evidence that “the UK Government is keen to emphasise the potential benefits of a UK-Australia for smaller British producers”.
“Concerns have been brewing about the impacts of opening the UK market to Australia’s large-scale agriculture, so this is a deliberate effort to reframe the debate and demonstrate that the Government’s mind is focused on protecting local industries,” she said.
“Undoubtedly, they have also seized on the opportunity to demonstrate how their UK trade deals will deliver for Scotland.”
Negotiations have seen Australia ask for all tariffs and quotas removed on its agricultural products in return for tariffs being slashed on things like British cars.
The UK also wants Australia to open up its economy to the British telecommunications industry.