China to cut duty on spirits

China’s Finance Ministry said that tariffs on imported products such as spirits, clothes and food will drop from an average 17.3% to 7.7%.

The cuts, which take effect on 1 December, will see a reduction in whisky and brandy tariffs from 10% down to 5% and vermouth will see a drop from 65% to 14%.

Marie Audren, director of trade and economic affairs for Spirits Europe, welcomed the cuts and said: “We welcome the decision of China to cut tariffs on some spirits categories. This move will improve market access to our 3rd largest export market where we still represent less than 1% of the total market.”

She continued: “We hope this tariff reduction will be extended to other spirits categories. The main developed markets, including the EU, US, Canada, have eliminated tariffs on spirits. China is opening up, offering greater choice to consumers with quality spirits.”

Rosemary Gallagher, from the Scotch Whisky Association, told the BBC that China was an important market for Scotch whisky, she said: “In the first six months of 2017, demand for Scotch in China jumped as the economy grew, with direct exports alone up 45% to £27m.”

She added: “A cut in tariffs will give another welcome boost to Scotch and should encourage the premium Scotch whisky market to continue to expand.”

Following a return to growth for spirits sales in China, earlier this year Pernod Ricard reported that sales in the country drove up its 2016/17 net profits.