Figures published today by the Scotch Whisky Association show that exports of Scotch in the first half of the year were £1.77 billion, down 11% from £1.99bn in the same period of 2013.
It admitted that following a decade of growth the demand for Scotch is levelling off in some markets.
David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said: “We are confident that Scotch Whisky will continue to grow in the long-term as markets stabilise and new ones, such as emerging economies across Africa, open up. However, it is clear that in the short-run that there are economic headwinds affecting exports.
“The latest figures also act as a reminder that the success of Scotch whisky can’t be taken for granted. We need support from government to beat down trade barriers and help us access new markets overseas.
“That is why we are determined to play a full part in the forthcoming debate about further devolution, so that it enables a supportive business environment to ensure the future success of Scotch whisky.”
Exports to France grew 3% to put it in second place behind the USA in the top export countries chart, while exports to the UAE also grew 26%.
Other countries to enjoy growth were Taiwan, Canada and Japan.
But the industry suffered sales declines in several major markets including China, Singapore, the US, Brazil and Mexico.