The Sustainable Growth of the Drinks Industry report by economist Ciaran Fitzgerald, commissioned by the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI), says that the industry could grow exports in excess of €2 billion of the next 15 years, while creating 13,000 jobs.
Fitzgerald also claims, however, that this potential expansion is being compromised by the ‘double regulation’ of the industry, which he says undermines competitiveness and doesn’t match Government expansion plans for the sector.
The report notes that excise and VAT taxes on alcohol are the second highest in Europe, creating drinks prices that are 60% higher than average EU prices, as measured by Eurostat.
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Furthermore, the route to market costs facing the drinks industry, through imposed taxes and increased regulatory costs, are "undermining the sector’s capability to maintain its economic impact.”
Meeting the targets of Foodwise 2025 could see the drinks industry grow exports by €700 million, and create 7,210 jobs in the Irish economy.
The industry goal of growing the Irish whiskey sector to 24 million cases alone would see Irish drink exports exceed €2.2 billion, and would generate additional direct and indirect employment of 13,390 jobs in the Irish economy, particularly in rural areas.
Fitzgerald explained that there is a disconnect between Foodwise targets and current Government policies on price, taxation and regulatory costs. “This inconsistency will ultimately act as a barrier to local and inward investment. The imposition of high taxes and regulatory costs is not economically sustainable and will only serve to undermine the economic contribution of the sector and curb its growth,” he said.
Ross MacMathuana, Director, Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland commented, “This report has highlighted that significant export growth opportunities exists, with the industry having the potential to grow exports by at least 85% and potentially to over €2 billion, creating and sustaining an additional 13,000 jobs, predominantly in rural Ireland.”
“If we are to realise these ambitions, we need to have a more consistent policy framework in place informed by evidence-based regulation,” he added.
© 2015 - Checkout Magazine by Jenny Whelan.