Trade body the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has signed an agreement with the Spanish Civil Guard to further protect the category from illegal marketing and sales in Spain.
SWA chief executive Karen Betts and general director of the Civil Guard María Gámez Gámez have signed the General Protocol for Action.
The Spanish Civil Guard is a law enforcement body that covers custom duties and tax matters in Spain.
This is the first arrangement of its kind with a national enforcement authority outside of the UK. The conditions of the agreement include any suspect samples in Spain will be sent to Scotland for testing by the Scotch Whisky Research Institute.
It also involves a requirement for training members of the Civil Guard by the SWA’s legal team.
The SWA said Spain was Scotch whisky’s fifth largest global market by volume, with exports worth more than £180 million (US$239m) in 2019. Spain is the top three Scotch whisky export market by both volume and value in Europe.
Alan Park, legal affairs director at the SWA, said: “The Civil Guard is a highly effective organisation and this is a very positive step towards the continued protection of Scotch whisky in one of our most important export markets.
“The Spanish Civil Guard’s cooperation with the SWA has been extremely valuable in helping us to tackle the sale of products over the years that seek to take unfair advantage of Scotch whisky’s reputation. We are delighted to formalise our working relationship with an enforcement authority outside the UK, in the first formal national agreement of its kind.”