Brussels, 15 October 2018 – The European spirits industry calls for the urgent resolution of the outstanding issues in the Brexit negotiations before the European Council Summit this week.
“The conclusion of the Withdrawal Agreement, including the vital transition period, is a top priority that should be achieved without any further delay” said Ulrich Adam, Director General of spiritsEUROPE. “The final version of the Withdrawal Agreement should include the reciprocal protection of Geographical Indications, agreed rules and processes to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, and secure continuity in commercial relations with third countries”, he added.
The disruption caused by the UK exiting the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement to the trade, customs and regulatory environment is likely to be extremely detrimental to the spirits sector. 
The final version of the Withdrawal Agreement should include a set of rules ensuring the reciprocal protection of Geographical Indications (GIs). European producers seek continued full protection of spirits GIs in the UK without further re-examination. GI-protection is a key pillar for the trade in high value-added spirits. They are a hallmark of tradition, cultural integrity and product quality and act as a key driver for export success in markets far beyond Europe. Mutual recognition and protection are therefore fundamental for producers and consumers on both sides of the Channel.
The Withdrawal Agreement should also secure rules and processes to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, whilst limiting barriers to the functioning of the UK’s internal market. Among European spirits, Irish spirits stand out for their stellar growth in exports in recent years, a growth that has been built on a seamlessly integrated all-island supply chain and underpinned by the three famous GIs: Irish Whiskey; Irish Cream; and Poitin.
The final version of the Withdrawal Agreement should secure continuity in commercial relations with third countries. While we appreciate that neither the UK Government nor the European Commission can unilaterally secure the continued benefits of the EU’s preferential trade agreements with third countries for the UK post-Brexit. We emphasise that a transition period is necessary to allow for negotiation with third countries over the continuation of these agreements. We also call on the EU’s third country partners to consider the value of good faith in commercial relationships.
“Looking ahead to the future relationship, we call for the political declaration accompanying the Withdrawal Agreement to mandate the negotiators to achieve a deep and comprehensive EU-UK trade agreement securing tariff-free trade, fair competition and maintaining consumer confidence” concluded Ulrich Adam. 
Note to editors
For more information, please contact: Marie Audren, Director Trade & Economic Affairs
Tel: + 32 (2) 774.53.44 – firstname.lastname@example.org
 Examples of disruption for spirits in case of a no-deal scenario:
 Looking ahead to the future relationship:
Detailed Brexit position papers shared by European and UK spirits & wine producers: click here
spiritsEUROPE is the representative body for the spirits industry at European level comprising 31 associations and 8 multinationals: www.spirits.eu.