Switzerland is the latest country to face the idea of minimum pricing

Switzerland is the latest country to face the idea of minimum pricing

Plans for a minimum unit price in Switzerland have been rejected by the country's National Council. 

Members of Switzerland's lower house in its federal assembley voted against the measure yesterday (19 September), first proposed by the upper house, the Council of States, in March this year. No level had yet been set for a minimum price.

Trade body SpiritsEurope welcomed the move. Director general Paul Skehan told just-drinks today (20 September): “We are delighted they saw sense and reason over this illegal measure. We hope that is the end of it.” 

Scotland's plans for a minimum price are currently the subject of a legal challenge, while the Westminster government has effectively ruled out the measure

SpiritsEurope is also concerned over another proposal by Switzerland's lower house to give the country's spirits producers a tax break. The proposed “yield taxation” would give a break to distilled spirits made from red fruits, pips and nuts.  

The measure would only benefit Swiss producers and not importers, according to SpiritsEurope. 

“The discriminatory effect of this new tax break is not acceptable and goes against the World Trade Organisation or the EU-Switzerland FTA rules,” said Skehan. 

He added: “The cherry on the cake is that at the same time, the council also decided to increase the excise tax on spirits from CHF29 to CHF32 to make up for the shortfall that is to be expected by the introduction of yield taxation.” 

The group said it will ask the European Commission how it intends to “stop this unlawful discrimination against European spirits imported products”.