South Korea has lifted trade barriers to imports from the European Union, with Scotch whisky likely to be one of the biggest and most immediate benefactors.
Scotch was the biggest import from the UK in 2010, with the most sought-after brands Windsor, Imperial Classic and Scotch Blue. Macallan and GlenfiddichPhoto: PA
By Julian Ryall in Tokyo
3:18PM BST 01 Jul 2011
The largest free trade agreement signed to date between the EU and an Asian country went into effect on July 1, meaning an end to the 20 per cent import duty on spirits as well as complicated rules on labelling and storage.
The government in South Korea has also promised to protect genuine Scotch from imitations.
"South Korea is already the sixth largest export market in the world for Scotch by value and the ninth by volume, so we see this as having a fairly significant benefit to the whisky industry," said Rob Allanson, editor of Whisky Magazine.
"In South Korea, it is very much a young person's drink and there is a real thirst for knowledge," he said. "They're eager to try it out and, rather like in China, they are playing with whisky in cocktails and with local ingredients."
Scotch was the biggest import from the UK in 2010, with the most sought-after brands Windsor, Imperial Classic and Scotch Blue. Macallan and Glenfiddich.