Philippines appeal against on spirits tax could take three months at WTO

Philippines appeal against on spirits tax could take three months at WTO

The Philippines Government has filed an appeal against the World Trade Organisation's ruling that its high import taxes on spirits from the US and European Union are illegal.

The official appeal, filed on 23 September and which has been expected, means spirits producers in Europe and the US must wait longer to see if they will get better access to the Philippines market. It may take three months for the World Trade Organisation's three-member appeals panel to reach a decision.

Last month, the WTO ruled that the Philippines has been illegally taxing imported spirits at higher rates than alcohol produced domestically. Tax on imported spirits in the Philippines can be up to 50 times higher than that applied to local brands, according to Europe's spirits industry trade body, CEPS.

Industry officials are quietly confident that the Philippines appeal will only delay, rather than overturn, their victory. According to WTO rules, any appeal cannot dispute the facts of a ruling and can only be based on "points of law".