EU spirits exports soar by 24%
Exports of European spirits increased by nearly a quarter to reach €8.41 billion (US$8.48bn) last year, led by a return to tariff-free trade.
The new data was released by trade body Spirits Europe, which noted that the 24% increase in spirits exports was supported by the lifting of Covid-related restrictions, the suspension of EU-US tariffs on spirits and an ‘exceptional performance’ in China.
Pauline Bastidon, director of trade at Spirits Europe, presented the association’s 2022 Trade Review, which showed that European spirits exports fared significantly better in 2021 than in the previous year.
The US remains the leading export market for EU spirits, valued at €3.26bn (US$3.28bn), followed by China, the UK and Singapore.
Spirits Europe said 2022 will be ‘far more challenging’ due to the rise in inflation and supply chain disruption, affecting production costs and demand in Europe and other parts of the world.
“Early indications show that this positive trend also continued during the first months of 2022,” said Bastidon. “However, supply chain disruptions and dramatic price increases for raw materials and energy – made worse by the war in Ukraine – could slow down future growth prospects significantly.
“Against this challenging economic background, our sector will need new export opportunities as well as stability in our relations with major trading partners.”
To minimise potential barriers to trade, the sector needs a ‘stable’ relationship with major partners, including ‘enhanced’ cooperation on regulatory matters, Spirits Europe said.
Bastidon added: “We also need to focus on emerging markets, where future growth will materialise if trade barriers and protectionist measures can successfully be lowered, such as in India, ASEAN and Mercosur countries.”
The trade group is calling on the EU to support producers’ efforts in diversification through trade negotiations and agreements, market access and enforcement efforts and promotion activities.
Spirits Europe said an ‘open and ambitious’ EU trade policy can help protect jobs.