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British alcohol and chocolate companies in high spirits after CPTPP sales soar


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Thu, 28 Dec. 2023

Exports of British festive treats to CPTPP countries have increased significantly.

From: Department for Business and Trade and The Rt Hon Kemi Badenoch MP

Published: 28 December 2023

  • Sales of British festive treats including chocolate, gin, whisky and sparkling wine to CPTPP countries are up significantly this year
  • Under CPTPP and existing trade deals tariffs on these festive products will be 0%
  • Scotch Whisky to Singapore has increased by 31% and by 43% to Malaysia, while UK sparkling wine exports to Japan have increased by 140%

UK food and drink exporters are toasting success this Christmas as demand from consumers in CPTPP, the massive trade bloc in the Indo-Pacific the UK signed up to in July, has boomed ahead of the festive season.

Latest figures show luxury British staples such as Scotch Whisky, chocolate and sparkling wine are being ordered en masse by CPTPP countries including Singapore, Japan, Mexico and Malaysia. Over the past year, UK chocolate exports to Singapore have increased by 220% in current prices to over £26 million while UK sparkling wine exports to Japan have increased by 140% to over £26 million.

The Indo-Pacific region is set to account for the majority of global growth and around half of the world’s middle-class consumers in the decades to come, presenting huge opportunities for UK businesses. Under CPTPP, which the UK is set to formally join next year, tariffs on 99% of UK goods exports such as chocolate to Mexico and Malaysia will be 0%, helping drive even more export success.

Scotch Whisky continues to dominate the Singapore market, with over £380 million worth of Scotch Whisky exported from the UK to Singapore over the last year, an increase of 31% (£90 million) in current prices on the previous year. Its huge popularity extends to other markets in CPTPP, with a 43% (£11 million) increase in Scotch Whisky exports to Malaysia over the past year.

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said:

“This Christmas our fantastic British food and drink producers are already reaping the rewards of the UK’s tilt towards the Indo-Pacific, with high demand in fast-growing economies such as Singapore and Malaysia for our world-renowned festive staples.”

“Once we become a fully-fledged CPTPP member, tariffs on more than 99% of UK goods will be set at 0%, ensuring even more people across the globe will be able to celebrate next Christmas with a glass of English sparkling wine or a dram of Scotch whisky.”

Scotch Whisky Association Chief Executive, Mark Kent said:

“Exports of Scotch Whisky to the CPTPP countries have grown significantly in the past decade, collectively reaching more than £1.1bn in 2022.”

“The UK’s accession to CPTPP will open up new opportunities for Scotch Whisky and other UK products in key markets in the region, including the phased elimination of Malaysia’s import tariff.”

“With the potential for more countries to join CPTPP in the coming years, Scotch Whisky will benefit from further liberalisation in the region.”

Jonathan Brenton Director of Public Affairs for Pernod Ricard UK, Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail and Chivas Brothers said:

“We are excited by the UK’s entry into the CPTPP. The Pacific Rim is already the world’s most economically dynamic region and five CPTPP members are in the top 20 markets for our Scotch whiskies.”

“CPTPP will reduce whisky tariffs in Malaysia to zero and will help us leverage the growing middle class and a trend towards premium products and cocktail culture in other Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam.”

Isle of Harris Distillers is one such business that has been leading the charge in not just CPTPP markets but across the world too so that now even more people can sample their award-winning gin and whisky. Singapore is also a big market for the UK gin industry, with enthusiasm for gin and tonic and the Singapore Sling driving a 56% (£3 million) increase in current prices in UK gin exports to the country over the past year.

Peter Kwasniewski, International Business Development Manager at Isle of Harris Distillers Ltd. said:

“Exporting is a great way for a business to grow sustainably and at a faster rate than just domestically and exporting to CPTPP is becoming an increasingly important part of our business, and we’ve seen an encouraging boost to our sales to member countries over the past year.”

“Consumers worldwide are looking at drinking less but higher quality products. There is a clear demand for super premium quality products such as the Harris Gin and The Hearach – Single Malt Whisky we distil, and once Britain becomes a full member of the trading bloc this should only improve things further by making the products more easily accessible to international consumers.”

Singapore is not the only country with an increasing taste for British alcohol. For Kent-based Balfour Winery, Japan – which buys more sparkling wine from the UK than any other CPTPP country – is by far their biggest market, totalling 35% of sales. Japanese customers have uncorked more than £26 million worth of sparkling wine from the UK over the past year, up 140% (£15 million) in current prices on the previous year, and this could grow further when we join CPTPP and word of this first-class product spreads.

Adam Williams, COO and Sales Director of Balfour Winery said:

“As a category, we are at the early stages of our export journey, but it’s clear that Japan is a hugely exciting market for English Wine.”

“It is a mature market for premium wine, especially for high-quality sparkling wine, something that English wineries rightly have a worldwide reputation for.”

“We’re looking forward to working closely in the market to build awareness of our wine.”

Hampshire-based chocolate manufacturer Summerdown is another business enjoying new success after taking advantage of the UK’s recent trade deals. Their award-winning peppermint chocolates have hit shelves in Singapore, where the UK exported over £26 million of chocolate over the past year. With its large expat community, Singapore’s demand for British chocolate has reached new heights, sparking a 220% (£18 million) increase in current prices in exports to the country over the past year.

Chief Mint Officer for Summerdown Jo Colman said:

“At Summerdown, knowing our products are being enjoyed around the world brings us enormous pride. Seeing what we are creating from my family’s farm in Hampshire sold on the shelves of the world’s best food halls from Singapore to Sydney will never not be exciting.”

“The support we have received from DBT over the years in these key markets has always been invaluable in enabling us to focus on promoting and extolling the virtues of what makes everything we sell so special – our Black Mitcham peppermint.”

Analysis reveals an estimated £745 million surge for the food and drink sector as the UK dismantles trade barriers, propelling British goods to global markets. This includes around £440 million in fresh opportunities for UK alcohol exporters.


  • All figures in this release are in current prices, and any increases compare the 12 months to October 2023 to the previous 12 months.
  • Data for UK chocolate and sparkling wine exports was sourced from HMRC’s UK Overseas Trade in Goods Statistics, October 2023: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uk-overseas-trade-in-goods-statistics-october-2023.
  • Chocolate has been defined in the data as HS6 180620, HS6 180631, HS6 180632, and HS6 180690, sparkling wine has been defined as HS6 220410, Scotch Whisky has been defined as CN8 22083030, 22083041, 22083049, 22083061, 22083069, 22083071, 22083079, and gin has been defined as HS6 220850.
  • All export figures compare the 12 months to October 2023 to the previous 12 months in current prices.
  • Not all UK exports of food and drink products are produced in the UK. Figures include products that have been re-exported by the UK.
  • The Digital Market Access Service (DMAS) is the internal government database of trade barriers facing UK businesses that enables closer collaboration across government in Whitehall and at overseas Posts to analyse and progress action to try and resolve them where feasible.
  • DMAS is not a comprehensive repository of all market access issues facing UK exporters, and reporting rates vary widely across countries and regions. As such, aggregate figures should be interpreted as an indicative estimate based on a selective sample.
  • Aggregate figures on the total value of barriers resolved are based on DBT analysis of specific market access, using the methodologies set out in the DBT analytical working paper. To calculate the aggregate figures, the mid-point for each valuation range is added to provide a central estimate. Further details on the methodology for the aggregate valuation figures are published in the DBT analytical working paper.
  • All individual barrier valuation figures presented are midpoints of a valuation range and not exact point estimates.
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