IWA welcomes post-Brexit trade deal with southern AfricaBy Melita Kiely
The UK government has agreed a continuity trade agreement with Southern African Customs Union and Mozambique to ensure zero tariffs for Irish whiskey exports from Northern Ireland post-Brexit.
The UK is currently scheduled to leave the European Union (EU) on 31 October.
The new trade deal will enable businesses to trade on “preferential terms” with South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Eswatini and Mozambique if the UK leaves the EU.
Without such a deal, Irish whiskey from Northern Ireland would have faced a tariff of 154 cents per litre post-Brexit, plus additional taxes.
William Lavelle, head of Drinks Ireland and the Irish Whiskey Association (IWA), said: “South Africa is currently the fifth largest export market for Irish whiskey while sub-Saharan Africa is proving to be a major growth region for our category.
“Thanks to the existing EU agreement with the Southern African Customs Union, there are currently zero tariffs on Irish whiskey exports to South Africa and other markets in the union.
“We continue to lobby for the most seamless possible Brexit. We don’t want a two-tier Irish whiskey industry on the island of Ireland, with one jurisdiction having better trading conditions than the other.”
Last month, Irish whiskey was granted legal protection in South Africa, which the IWA said would give the industry more power to combat fakes.