Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey is urging Irish MEPs to support the European Parliament vote on the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which would see an elimination of the existing 45% tariff on Irish whiskey.
The representative body for the Irish whiskey industry highlighted their ask of MEPs today 7 February in advance of the plenary vote on the FTA, which is scheduled to take place next Monday 10 February in the European Parliament.
“In recent months, Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey has been actively briefing and engaging with Irish MEPs on various aspects of the FTA which would greatly support the future growth of Irish whiskey exports to Vietnam," said William Lavelle, Head of Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey.
"These would include a fullphasing-out of the current excessive tariff of 45 per cent; and legal recognition for the Irish whiskey geographic indication, protecting Irish whiskey from fake competitors.”
Historically Low Sales
While sales of Irish whiskey to Vietnam have historically been low, there has been a near trebling of sales in the past two years, with an estimated 63,000 bottles sold in Vietnam in 2019, the group said.
The Irish whiskey industry has identified Vietnam, and in particular the city regions of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, as priority future growth regions.
“The last decade had seen a boom in Irish whiskey exports to North America and Europe,” said Lavelle. “The next decade will see an increasing focus on Asia; and trade agreements such as that on offer with Vietnam will help open up Asia to Irish whiskey.
'Vote to Ratify'
“We’re calling on Irish MEPs to vote to ratify this trade agreement, which will support export growth," he said.
Lavelle highlighted that in turn, this will support more jobs in local Irish whiskey distilleries and more custom for Irish barley and grain farmers.
“As a small island that is very much dependent on global trade, Ireland must continue to champion rule-based free trade. We know there is some opposition to the Vietnam FTA on the basis of issues in Vietnam around labour rights and environmental protection," he added.
"However, we believe this agreement will be an important tool in achieving change on these key issues, while benefitting the Irish, European and Vietnamese economies."
© 2020 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.