The Irish whiskey industry has welcomed the decision by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario to reduce its levies on EU and UK spirits by 42% in line with the terms of the CETA agreement.
Another Canadian province, Quebec, is set to reduce its levies on imported spirits by 16.4% from 23 May.
The levy reductions were welcomed by Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey, the representative group for the Irish whiskey sector, with group head William Lavelle commenting, “These latest reductions come on foot of audits carried out at the request of the EU under the terms of the CETA agreement, and will open up new opportunities for Irish whiskey brands.”
The CETA free trade deal between the EU and Canada has not been fully ratified by EU member states yet, with Ireland's government expected to vote on the measure in the coming weeks.
The agreement has been in 'provisional effect' since 2017, however, and in that time, "sales of Irish whiskey in Canada have increased a massive 44%, to 3.5 million bottles in 2019," said Lavelle.
"A major contributor to this growth has been the reform of levies, known as the cost-of-service-differential, which are imposed by provincial liquor retail monopolies in Ontario and Quebec, the two most populous provinces in Canada.”
The cost-of-service-differentials in Ontario and Quebec were initially changed from an ad-valorum (per value) basis to a flat charge in 2018. This particularly benefitted premium-priced Irish whiskey, Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey said.
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