spiritsNEWS December 2023

A very fruitful spiritsEUROPE mission to India

spiritsEUROPE took part in a very fruitful mission to India earlier this month, on the back of a high-level mission organised by DG AGRI as part of the EU Promotion Policy. The spiritsEUROPE delegation met with the Indian Government & governmental agencies (the Joint Secretary for Commerce at the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, the Secretary at the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Invest India and FSSAI), the EU Delegation and the new EU Ambassador to India, H.E. Hervé Delphin, member states representatives in India and Indian business associations (CII, FICCI and our sister organisation ISWAI).

This mission was particularly timely in light of the ongoing FTA, investment, and GIs negotiations between the EU & India. It provided the spiritsEUROPE delegation with invaluable information on key trends in the Indian markets, as well as political and industry priorities, and allowed us to address some of the misperceptions related to the links between trade & investment, and to stress the importance of the Indian market for our sector, as both exporters and investors.

India is the most populated country and the second biggest spirits market in the world (in volume) – presenting significant potential for both European exporters and investors, provided that the significant barriers (tariff & non-tariff) and challenges faced by exporters and investors can be addressed. Currently, the value of EU spirits exports to India is slightly below €60 million (in 2022) compared to €875 million to China, not least due to an import tariff of 150% on imported products. While European spirits companies already have a substantial presence and made significant investments in India, there is also room for further investment, if the conditions are right.   

We came back from this mission with three key takeaway messages:

  1. Imported & local products are complementary and cater to different customers' needs and aspirations. Opening up the Indian market by addressing the 150% tariffs imported spirits face will further increase the attractiveness of India for foreign investors and make the overall pie larger, for everyone's benefit (domestic & foreign producers, consumers and tax authorities).
  1. Our sector is already playing a significant role as part of the ‘Make in India’ strategy & is committed to further investments. Further improvements in the investment climate will enable more European companies to do just this.
  1. We have much to gain by exchanging best practices & working together on shared challenges. One example where both sides can benefit is on GIs, which already support rural communities & tourism and present significant potential for further growth, development & promotion for the EU & India.

Above all, we came back with the conviction that the forthcoming FTA will be in the interest of both the EU and India, and with the reassurance that it is perceived as mutually desirable – which gives us confidence in the future EU-India trade & investment relations, particularly for spirits.

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