SpiritsEUROPE, which represents producers of alcoholic spirits at the EU level, has identified international trade as a critical factor for the sector’s recovery, following a challenging year due to the pandemic.
In 2020, the European spirits sector saw exports decline by 19%, according to a new trade report published by the body.
Commenting on the report, director-general of spiritsEUROPE, Ulrich Adam, said, "In the next decade, 85% of global growth will take place outside of the EU. International trade and the ability to export our products throughout the world will be more critical than ever before, not just for our sector, but for the EU’s economy as a whole.
"When companies export and invest abroad, they export high-quality standards, creating mutual benefits and paving the way for a sustainable recovery."
The report lists ten recommendations to strengthen the sustainable growth of EU spirits exports, building on past performance, to support the ongoing economic recovery of the sector.
Adam added, "We should start by going back to tariff-free trade in spirits with the US, our first global market. Rebuilding the transatlantic alliance is a must if we want to focus on economic recovery and on tackling common challenges efficiently, through a positive and ambitious agenda, including a reform of the WTO.
"Going forward, we need to ensure that sectors in which the EU has a trade surplus are not brought into unrelated disputes, and that trade policy acts as an enabler of sustainable growth."
Earlier this month, US and the EU agreed to lift tariffs on goods, including cheese and whiskey, as US President Joe Biden agreed to a truce in a transatlantic dispute over aircraft subsidies that dragged on for 17 years.
Ambitious EU Trade Policy
The recommendations were presented by spiritsEUROPE trade and economic affairs director, Pauline Bastidon, who emphasised the importance of an ambitious EU trade policy for European spirits.
"Future growth in our sector will greatly depend on the EU’s capacity to rebuild transatlantic ties, maintain a constructive dialogue with China, ensure robust enforcement of commitments made by third countries, fight protectionist measures in markets holding great potential such as India, and strengthen the role and relevance of WTO.
“All these are shared objectives with the wider EU economy, and are a must to be able to put this health and economic crisis behind us all and embark on a green and sustainable transition.”