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Calls to define Scotch in UK law to protect whisky exports after Brexit

The whisky industry is worth around £4 billion to Scotland. Credit: PA

The Scottish Government has called for Scotch to be defined in UK law in order to protect whisky exports after Brexit.

Scotland's Economy Secretary Keith Brown has written to UK ministers calling for protection of the Scotch whisky industry, in light of International Trade Secretary Liam Fox's visit to the US this week.

The industry is worth around £4 billion to Scotland in exports and an EU definition of whisky currently protects sales from sub-standard products.

Mr Brown has asked that the current EU regulations are guaranteed post-Brexit.

"Aside from being a key part of Scottish culture and identity, our whisky industry supports around 20,000 jobs, he said.

"It is vital that we continue to have robust legal protection of Scotch whisky, which is why I have sought clarification from the UK Government as to whether Scotch whisky featured in discussions during last week's trade visit by the Secretary of State for International Trade."

Scotland is seeking to protect the future of its whisky exports. Credit: PA

A UK Government spokeswoman said: "Scotch is a UK export success story and we will support the industry so that it continues to thrive and prosper post-Brexit."

Rosemary Gallagher, Scotch Whisky Association head of communications, said: "Regarding the EU whisky definition, all whisky produced or sold in the EU must be, among other things, matured for at least three years.

"We would be opposed to any weakening of the whisky definition as a result of trade negotiations with other countries or through any other means."