Key elements of the European Union (EU) drinks industry should be exempt from the EU's plans to auction carbon dioxide emissions permits from 2013.

The European Commission has unveiled a draft list of businesses it fears could relocate outside Europe to jurisdictions with weaker climate change rules.

Under the list approved on Friday (September 18) by Brussels' climate change committee, these selected industries would have free carbon credits from 2013 to 2020. Furthermore, pollution permits would be capped at the 2007-8 levels of the most efficient 10% of companies in a particular sector, (final caps to be decided in 2011).

Drinks industry sub-sectors receiving this treatment include manufacturers of wines, spirits, malt, hollow glass and beverage processing machinery.

A Commission communiqué said "the issue of carbon leakage [entailed] the risk that companies in sectors subject to strong international competition might relocate from the EU to third countries with less stringent constraints...."

Its list will now be assessed by the European Parliament and EU Council of Ministers ahead of formal adoption by the Commission by the end of the year. This means some industries could be removed (or added) depending on the hoped-for UN Copenhagen conference international climate change agreement in December.

Brussels said it would "review the list" afterwards.