HL Deb 10 November 1988 vol 501 cc732-3

3.18 p.m.

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress has been made in removing discrimination against whisky produced in Scotland in the Japanese tax regime.

Lord Strathclyde

My Lords, earlier this year, the Japanese authorities announced their intention to introduce, from April 1989, a single rate of tax for all whiskies, at a level 45 per cent. below that currently applying to whisky produced in Scotland. We very much welcome Japan's proposals which, when implemented, will greatly improve the ability of' such whisky to compete in the Japanese market on fair and equal terms.

Lord Campbell of Croy

My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for that Answer; it indicates expectation of a great improvement next year. Will my noble friend accept qualified congratulations on what has been achieved so far? The process takes a long time but have the remedies available through GATT been fully pursued and carried out?

Lord Strathclyde

My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Campbell of Croy for his congratulations, which I naturally accept. Having said that, it was not all my own work. As the noble Lord no doubt knows, it was the European Commission which took Japan to GATT and that has led on to the success of these proposals. We hope that it will take place in April next year.

Lord Morris

My Lords, is it right to assume that the new rules apply also to whiskey from Northern Ireland and, indeed, from the Principality?

Lord Strathclyde

My Lords, that is correct.

Lord Rugby

My Lords, is there any saki produced in Scotland and can that be exported to Japan?

Lord Strathclyde

My Lords, I think that will be up to manufacturers to decide.

Lord Williams of Elvel

My Lords, can the noble Lord tell us what is the definition of whisky for these purposes?

Lord Strathclyde

My Lords, I understand that the definition of whisky which we are using is that which is currently agreed by the Government; that is, over 40 per cent. proof.

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