Industry hails EU-Canada CETA deal

15th February, 2017 by Kristiane Sherry

Spirits Europe has “warmly welcomed” the European Parliament’s approval of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which it says will bring “obvious benefits” to the industry.

The EU-Canada CETA deal was passed in Parliament today

The trade deal, which aims to boost trade in goods and services and bolster investment, was approved in a session this morning [15 February] by 408 votes to 254, with 33 abstentions.

Under the terms of the CETA deal, most tariffs will be removed and more geographical indications (GIs) will be recognised. Scotch is expected to benefit from the removal of Canadian liquor board requirements to dilute bulk imports with Canadian product.

It is thought conditions of the agreement could be implemented as soon as April 2017, although it does need to be ratified by national parliaments.

“At last!  We are delighted with this decision,” said Paul Skehan, Spirits Europe director general. “We believe it is a correct decision, and one which will bring obvious benefits to both the European and Canada consumers and businesses.

“It has been a difficult debate for many, with many emotional arguments made, both for and against.  On balance, however, we feel that this decision to approve CETA is the right one.  Our distillers now look forward to quick provisional implementation of the deal, so that the advantages can accrue as quickly as possible.”

Miles Beale, chief executive at the UK’s Wine & Spirit Trade Association said: “The UK wine and spirit trade are delighted that MEPs have voted for this progressive trade agreement with Canada.
“The lifting of all import tariffs on wines and spirits will allow UK products to compete fairly with an important trading partner in an increasingly globalised market.
“Spirits such as gin and vodka will now be able to enjoy the same zero-tariff rates as whisky. CETA will allow British gin, which already accounts for one in every three bottles of UK spirit exports to Canada, to expand its reach overseas.”

The CETA deal had drawn criticism that it hands too much power to multinational companies. In a statement, the European Parliament said both the EU and Canada recognise that the agreement comes into play “without prejudice to the domestic right to regulate”.

The EU Parliament’s rapporteur for the CETA agreement Artis Pabriks said: “By adopting CETA, we chose openness and growth and high standards over protectionism and stagnation. Canada is a country with whom we share common values and an ally we can rely on.

“Together we can build bridges, instead of a wall, for the prosperity of our citizens. CETA will be a lighthouse for future trade deals all over the world.”

The CETA deal was first agreed at the Canada-EU Summit 2014 held in Ottawa.

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