THE Scotch Whisky Association will sign a cooperation agreement with the regulatory body for Tequila during a visit to Mexico next week, with the aim of improving market access for both spirits and protecting their reputation for quality.

The SWA said yesterday that the impending agreement with the Consejo Regulador del Tequila was designed to protect two globally-recognised spirits, and consumers. It added that the agreement would encourage greater co-operation in a range of areas, such as fair competition and promotion of responsible drinking.

SWA chief executive David Frost, who will be among the delegation visiting Mexico, said: "The co-operation agreement with the Tequila Regulatory Council will help Scotch whisky and Tequila work together to improve market access for both spirits and protect their reputation for quality."

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Last year, the value of Scotch whisky exports to Mexico totalled £110 million, up 20 per cent on 2012. Mexico is now the ninth-biggest overseas market for Scotch. The SWA said Scotch whisky represented 8 per cent of all UK exports to Mexico.

Mr Frost will, next Friday, deliver a talk in the Mexican city of Guadalajara on the SWA's work to protect and promote Scotch whisky.

He will also discuss the benefits of Scotch whisky's status as a "geographical indication". This means, by law, Scotch can only be made in Scotland from cereals, water and yeast, according to strict legal requirements.

Duncan Taylor, UK Ambassador to Mexico, said he was delighted to see the co-operation between the Scotch whisky and Tequila industries. He added he was confident this would lead to growth in trade between the UK and Mexico.