BREXIT - We regret the lack of progress at the Council meeting today
Ahead of the June European Council Summit, we urged EU & UK negotiators to make effective progress on key separation issues, notably on the continued protection of Geographical Indications (GIs) in the Withdrawal Agreement which is fundamental for the sector’s continued success as a European export champion. We called for an urgent finalization and swift transferral of the Withdrawal Agreement to the European Parliament so that the framework of the EU-UK future relationship could be prepared and provide much-needed certainty to producers before March 2019.
Unfortunately, we are not registering firm commitments on the continued protection of GIs which are a key pillar, asset and facilitator of trade in high-value spirits. An agreement on the mutual protection of EU and UK GIs in the Withdrawal Agreement is critical to allow the success story of European spirits’ production to continue and to ensure high-quality products can be delivered to consumers. This is particularly true for the three much-cherished All-Ireland GIs: Irish Whiskey, Irish Cream Liqueur and Irish Poitin.”
As proposed in February 2018, the European Commission’s draft language in the Withdrawal Agreement on GIs would require the UK to provide at least the same level of protection for EU GIs as they hold today. We therefore call on the UK and EU to agree to this language which would entitle GI holders to an equivalent right under UK law without the need for re-examination. Looking further ahead, we also urge the EU and the UK to provide a commitment on GI protection in the political agreement on the framework of the future relationship.
We regret that uncertainties remain on the application of EU FTAs during the transition period and that no progress was made on Irish border crucial issue of concern.
In the wider context of the Brexit negotiations, we could not say enough how important it is to secure continuity in the application of the benefits of the EU’s FTAs to the UK during the transition period. The European spirits sector contributes over €9 billion to Europe’s overall trade balance, and the UK’s spirits sector is very much part of that. Ensuring that trade flows with Europe’s existing trade partners and the UK continue during transition is key for producers to operate.