The Irish Spirits Association will today (Thursday July 26) join with whiskey and spirits associations from nine other nations to call upon global leaders to de-escalate the current tariff conflict and come together to stave-off the potential impacts of a prolonged trade war, which is a major threat to the Irish whiskey industry. The industry made the call at the ‘W9 Summit’ in Kentucky, which is taking place today and tomorrow (Friday July 27) and during which the world’s nine leading whiskey associations are discussing trade issues which threaten growth.
US whiskeys have been hit with a 25% tariff by the EU in response to President Trump’s trade policies. Fears of further retaliation are very real, particularly for the Irish whiskey industry which is heavily reliant on the US market.
The W9 Summit meeting is being attended by Aoife Clarke, Chair of the Irish Spirits Association and Senior International Director of Public Affairs at Beam Suntory, which own Cooley Distillery in Co. Louth. Cooley Distillery produces Kilbeggan, Tyrconnell and Connemara brands of Irish whiskey.
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Free And Fair Trade
Speaking from the event Aoife Clarke said, “Whiskey brands, in particular Irish Whiskey, are increasingly popular among consumers around the world. Globally, the whiskey industry is a prime example of the long-standing benefits of free and fair trade.
“No one ever wins in a trade war where consumers, distillery workers, farmers, bartenders and wait staff are among the victims. We call on all sides to continue dialogue and work to resolve the current situation in a timely manner. Now is the time when de-escalation is needed. The costs to Europe and Ireland would be much too high otherwise.”
While discussion at the summit will focus primarily on the tariff situation, other trade issues will be discussed including Brexit and, in the Irish context, the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.
Clarke added, “The global spirits industry see the threat of Irish-only health warning labels a barrier to trade both in and out of Ireland.”
© 2018 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.