Irish whiskey industry welcomes EU Court ruling on CETA trade agreement

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

 Irish Whiskey Association calls on Ireland to finally ratify agreement between EU & Canada
 CETA reforms has led to over 30% for some premium Irish whiskey brands

The Irish Whiskey Association, which represents Irish whiskey distilleries and brands, has today called on Dáil Éireann to finally ratify the EU-Canada CETA trade agreement. This follows this morning’s ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that the Investment Court System provided for under CETA is compatible with EU law.

CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada was concluded in 2016 and came into transitional effect in September 2017.
However, the agreement will not become permanent and binding until ratified by all EU member states. To date only 12 members states have ratified the agreement. The Irish Government has previously indicated that it was awaiting the ruling of the CJEU on the compatibility of the Investment Court System in CETA with the European Treaties. This question had been referred to the Court by Belgium.

William Lavelle, Head of the Irish Whiskey Association welcomed today’s court ruling stating: “This decision now clears the way for Ireland to ratify CETA, in turn guaranteeing the continued growth of Irish Whiskey exports to Canada.”
“Canada is a growing export market for Irish whiskey. However, sales in Canada are dominated by provincial government liquor control boards whose pricing model for imported spirits has, in the past, proved to be a barrier to the competitiveness of Irish whiskey sales. The CETA agreement reformed the model of levies imposed on imported spirits, moving from a per-value charge to a flat per-volume charge. This has greatly benefitted the sales of premium Irish whiskey in Canada.
“According to CSO, the value of overall Irish whiskey exports to Canada has increased 9% since CETS came into transitional effect. However, sales of certain premium Irish whiskey brands have increased by over 30% highlighting the real and tangible return for the Irish whiskey industry from CETA.

“The Irish Whiskey Association has identified Canada as one of the top markets for Irish whiskey sales growth over the next five years. CETA will help us realise that growth.”
Lavelle concluded: “We now hope that the Irish Government will table the CETA agreement before Dáil Éireann for ratification before the summer recess.”

The Irish Whiskey Association co-sponsored a major Irish whiskey consumer expo in Toronto, organised by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) the largest governmental liquor control board in the world. This event formed part of a pre-St. Patrick’s Day promotion for Irish whiskey in the LCBO network of 250 stores which delivered 12% growth in pre-St. Patrick’s Day sales of Irish whiskey compared to the same period in 2018.