China deal boosts Scottish whisky industry

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Scottish distillers were Sunday toasting an agreement between the British and Chinese governments which will ensure that only whisky made in Scotland can be sold as Scotch in China.

Chinese sales of the alcoholic spirit are expected to double as a result as the country's rapidly-expanding middle class hurries to sample finer food and drink experiences.

The agreement will be signed by Britain's business secretary Vince Cable in Beijing on Monday at the start of a two-day trade-visit with Prime Minister David Cameron.

"Scotch Whisky is a brand recognised worldwide so it is important all consumers should have confidence that the product they are buying is genuine," Cable said.

"This agreement means greater legal protection in China which will only help strengthen export sales of this successful Scottish product."

"Scotch whisky" sold in China must now adhere to British rules, successfully concluding a campaign fought by Britain's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the British Embassy in Beijing.

"This is great news for Scotch Whisky producers, who already enjoy global success and now have an unparalleled chance to build on this in another huge export market," British agriculture minister Jim Paice said.

"If it says Scotch whisky on the bottle, it will be Scotch whisky in the bottle in China's bars, restaurants, hotels and homes."

© 2010 AFP

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