Cheers to trade deal with Canada
24 May 2017
I was in good spirits as I made my way across the Atlantic to
participate in European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural
Development Phil Hogan's Delegation to Canada earlier this month.
With exports worth £74m by customs value in 2016, Canada is a
historically important market for Scotch Whisky but a new trade
deal could see those figures boosted.
This visit was an excellent opportunity to promote the benefits of
the EU-Canada Comprehensive Trade and Economic Agreement, otherwise
known as CETA - of which the SWA has been a long-standing
supporter. CETA is one of the most ambitious trade deals
negotiated by the EU and one which we hope to see form a blueprint
for future deals.
Once implemented, CETA offers a number of benefits for Scotch
Whisky as well as other EU spirits. Canada operates a provincial
liquor board system with the liquor control board of Ontario
(LCBO), one of the world's largest buyers and retailers of beverage
alcohol. We'll see various unfair practices by liquor boards
tackled and improvements to the complex cost of service
differential (COSD), which places imported spirit drinks at a
The importance of the EU spirits sector was amplified as I was
joined by our friends at spiritsEUROPE, Fédération des Exportateurs
de Vins et Spiritueux de France (FEVS) and the Polish Spirits
Association. As CETA still needs to be implemented, we also
welcomed Commissioner Hogan's strong advocacy for our sector which
he displayed during his meetings with both the Canadian Agriculture
Minister MacAulay and Trade Minister Champagne.
Our industry voice was further strengthened by our friends at
Spirits Canada. Canadian spirits will also benefit from the CETA
deal. Together, we held a joint reception in Ottawa to show our
support for the #CETANow campaign which promotes the trade deal and
is encouraging early implementation. We also discussed the
challenges posed by the introduction of a new annual automatic
excise duty escalator in Canada, a move the Canadian and EU spirits
industries strongly oppose.
Since I left Ottawa, the Canadian Senate has passed the CETA
implementation bill (C-30). It received Royal Assent last
week, with a view to application by July 2017. In addition,
all EU member states need to ratify CETA following the European
Parliament's approval in February. Latvia currently leads the way
having ratified shortly after the vote in Brussels. The SWA
hopes to see the UK ratify CETA as early as possible. These trade
deals are essential for securing more open markets and supporting
the growth of Scotch Whisky exports in the future. Equally,
it will be important to ensure the commitments made by Canada
are retained for UK spirit drinks post-Brexit.
Siobhan Sellers, Scotch Whisky Association's head of Americas