Spirits Europe calls for ‘flexible’ Brexit transition period

18th January, 2018 by Melita Kiely

Spirits Europe has welcomed the “early ambition” displayed by the EU during Brexit negotiations, but re-emphasised the need for a “flexible” transition period.

Brexit Spirits Europe

Spirits Europe has called for a “flexible” transition period for Brexit

Spirits Europe highlighted that Brexit “will impact every corner of our supply chains and distribution networks”, as numerous spirit categories rely on movement between the UK and EU-27, including material inputs such as agricultural raw materials, glass bottles and barrels.

The trade body said the transition of the UK leaving the European Union must be “dynamic”, permitting EU legislation initiated and finalised during the period to apply to the UK during the transition period.

It noted particular importance in respect to the ongoing revision of the Spirits Drinks Regulation (Reg 110/2008), which outlines rules for the definition, production and labelling of all spirits made in the EU.

It continued that once finalised, the revision must be applicable to the EU-27 and the UK during transition, “thereby ensuring that consumers can remain confident of the quality of products and that the definitions it contains continue to underpin the sector’s geographic indications (GIs)”.

Spirits Europe also noted in its statement: “Our industry wishes to stress to the EU-27 the importance of showing flexibility on the length of the transition, ensure that all legislation initiated and finalised during transition applies to the UK during this time, and that the EU’s current FTAs and bilateral spirits agreements, in place or initiated and finalised during the period, apply to member states and the UK until the end of the transition period.

“Undermining the integrity of the trading relationship that third countries negotiated with the EU could potentially endanger the continued trade benefits and protection of GIs for spirits drinks.

“Anti-counterfeiting actions which enforce these protections are central to our industry’s ability to continue to prosper as a European export champion.”

In December 2017, as Brexit negotiations progressed, drinks trade associations called for a “commitment to continuous full protection” of geographical indications and trademarks for wines and spirits.

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