Commissioner Hogan leads useful mission to Canada

In May, spiritsEUROPE joined the business delegation to Canada comprising about 60 people led by Commissioner Phil Hogan.  These market visits “Enjoy, it’s from Europe” are very useful for the spirits sector and offer great opportunities to forge long-term cooperation between European and local companies; but also to build direct relationship with officials in these markets to address some of the barriers faced by European exporters.  The imminent entry into force of CETA was at the center of many meetings, not only with the EU representation and embassies but also with officials from key Federal and provincial ministries.

We raised the issue of the recent excise tax increase (+2% and a duty escalator) applying to every alcoholic beverages except Canadian wines, which is against the spirit of CETA (and WTO) to treat differently domestic and imported products.  Given the structure of the market, this increase impairs the sales potential for EU spirits and wines.

The access to the Canadian market for European spirits remains highly complex and burdensome.  While in certain provinces beer and wine can be sold outside the monopoly system, the provincial monopolies remain the sole retailer for spirit drinks.  Our market shares in Canada have significantly declined in the recent years.  We need Canada to live up to its CETA commitments to remove barriers and discriminations at provincial level for EU imported spirits.

Paul Skehan, Director General*

*in his capacity as permanent representative of Skehan sprl