There are good signs that the Scotch industry is to benefit from increased sales in India, according to the chief trade negotiator and commerce secretary for the country.
In an interview with BBC Scotland, Dr Rahul Khullar said there was a strong prospect that a free trade agreement between the EU and India would be in place later in 2012.
Premium Scotch is a highly prized commodity across large areas of the sub-continent, but existing restrictions on trade has limited its sale. The new agreement would result in these restrictions not being altogether lifted, but considerably relaxed.
Presently, there are more than 250 million cases of foreign Indian-made liquor being consumed, though only 1% of this is imported, whilst there is an additional 210 million cases of wholly Indian-produced liquor consumed too.
With the increasing numbers of Indian middle-classes seeing Scotch very much as a status symbol, the potential is significant
The final sign off cannot come soon enough for the Scottish drinks industry, where continued problems over financing restricts some growth. Through invoice factoring though, many are still in a good position to take the opportunity.
However, there is still some time to go, with a protracted time line before any agreement is in place.
Negotiations on how the agreement is to be drawn are still ongoing, whilst the first chance of sign off will be the EU – India summit, set for February 10. From here, it needs to be passed into legislature in each member country.
However, indications are certainly promising that the market will open up by the last quarter of the year, which could provide a welcome injection of revenue.