About 1.3 billion bottles of Scotch whisky sold worldwide in 2013, according to figures from Scotch Whisky Assn.; exports up 3% in value terms, reaching £4.3B

LONDON , April 13, 2014 () – British Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael on Friday said Scotland's iconic beverage brand Scotch Whisky will enjoy a variety of benefits if the region remains part of Britain.

"Scotland as part of the UK delivers for the Scotch Whisky industry both at home and abroad," Carmichael said, describing the exporting success of Scotch Whisky as "a benchmark of what can be achieved by combining Scottish excellence with UK influence."

His remarks came after the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) released figures Friday showing 1.3 billion bottles of Scotch Whisky were sold across the globe in 2013, with exports increasing by 3 percent and in value terms reaching 4.3 billion pounds (about 7.18 billion U.S. dollars) last year.

Carmichael pledged that British government will continue to support Scotch whisky exports in various means if Scotland remains as part of Britain.

"As part of the Budget we froze the duty on whisky and scrapped the alcohol escalator, in Europe we exert our influence as a large member state to put the interests of Scotch Whisky at the heart of free trade agreement negotiations," the Scottish Secretary said.

"With our extensive, diplomatic, trade and consular network, we will continue to support Scotch whisky exports, working hard to break down trade barriers and defend it against counterfeits," he added.

Carmichael said the British Government is providing the support that the Scotch Whisky industry needs to be "confident and secure" in the years ahead, with large investment programs underway and plans for new distilleries continuing to emerge.

With fewer than 200 days to go before the referendum on Sept. 18 this year, London and Edinburgh have been wrangling to win supporters for their respective agendas over Scotland's future.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond signed the Edinburgh Agreement in October 2012 to allow Scotland to hold the independence referendum this year.

(c) 2014 Xinhua News Agency

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