The agreement delivered a wide range of benefits for consumers and exporters on both sides, including recognition of products with 'geographical indications' such as Scotch whisky.
|Scotch whisky industry celebrates 4th Anniversary of European and South Korean FTA|
Although the effects of the financial crisis produced a general decline in consumption of spirits in Korea after 2008, with Scotch exports declining in the short run, this has now begun to reverse, and last year the shipment value of Scotch exports to Korea increased 1.65% to £117.3 million, from £115.4 million in 2013. Korea is now the eighth biggest export market for Scotch by value.
Korean consumers are also seeking out premium products, including single malt Scotch whisky, which has soared in popularity in Korea from £2.0 million in 2004 to a record £8.4 million last year. Between 2013 and 2014 alone exports of Single Malts to Korea increased by almost 70% from £5.0 million.
Commenting on the news, David Frost, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said: "The Free Trade Agreement with South Korea seems to be working for Scotch whisky. Last year the value of Scotch exports to Korea increased for the first time since the FTA came into force four years ago, following the full elimination of the import tariff."
He went on to say: "South Korean consumers look for quality and premium products, and Scotch whisky perfectly fits the bill. Scotch has been made for more than 500 years and the rules around its production, including 40% minimum ABV and its geographic indication which means it must be made in Scotland, along with the passion and expertise of those working in the industry, ensure its consistently high standard. This means that when people buy a genuine Scotch whisky they can be assured of the finest and the highest quality."
A major part of the appeal of Scotch in Korea and globally, is its consistently high quality, which strict UK and EU legislation, primarily the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009, helps to preserve.
Source: Scotch Whisky Association