Whisky lovers, raise your glasses! The India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) might just bring you a taste of Scotland, but not quite in the way you expect. Forget sleek, branded bottles – India is eyeing unbottled, bulk barrels of Scotch whisky for its import plans. This unconventional approach stems from a concern about “under-invoicing,” a shady practice where companies intentionally misrepresent the value of imported goods to pay lower taxes. Bottled whisky, it seems, has become a prime target for this financial sleight of hand.

By requesting Scotch whisky in unbottled barrels, India hopes to nip this issue in the bud. These barrels would then be used for blending and bottling within India, making it much harder to manipulate the declared value. It’s a clever solution that tackles both trade concerns and ensures a steady flow of the golden spirit for Indian palates.

However, this barrel-centric plan isn’t without its wrinkles. The UK, understandably, prefers the prestige and revenue associated with bottled exports. Negotiating a mutually agreeable solution will be crucial for the success of the FTA.

With India’s general elections looming in March, both sides are eager to finalize the agreement before campaign season heats up. The barrel-versus-bottle debate adds another layer of complexity to the negotiations, but if resolved, it could pave the way for a unique and mutually beneficial trade relationship between two whisky-loving nations.

So, will India’s “barrels over bottles” approach become the toast of the FTA? Stay tuned for updates, whisky enthusiasts, as this intriguing trade saga unfolds!