Scotch whisky exports recover from pandemic, tariffs hits

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The exports of the famous Scotch whisky crawled back from downturn caused by Covid-19 pandemic and the new higher US import tariffs. The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) confirmed that the value of exports in the first half of 2021 was 31% higher than the same period of 2020 as volumes surged by 42%, BBC reported. Still the value was 10% lower than the 2019 record.

The SWA noted that the industry "still has some way to go" to recover lost growth. Exports of Scotch to the EU fell in the first quarter of 2021, compared with 2019, as Covid-related lockdowns were still in place and producers "adjusted to new post-Brexit trading arrangements", the SWA said.

Still they grew at a faster pace between April and June 2021 than in the same period of 2019. Exports to the US continued to take a hit at the beginning of the year, as a result of a 25% tariff imposed on single malts in late 2019 following a trade row with the EU. The tax was suspended in March 2021, but exports for the first half were down by 34% compared with 2019.

US remains Scotch whisky's biggest export market by value. Meanwhile, exports to markets in Asia, which were quick to recover during the second half of 2020, continued to grow in the first half of 2021. China has already surpassed the £89m exported in the whole of 2019 - growing by 126% to £91m. SWA chief executive Karen Betts described the pace of recovery of exports overall as "very promising".

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