Vietnam is a growth market for spirits

Vietnam is a growth market for spirits

The European spirits industry has hailed a new EU free-trade deal with Vietnam, saying an agreement to cut a 45% import tariff will encourage further growth.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said the FTA will also help tackle other trade restrictions with the country. Last year, the SWA said direct imports of Scotch to Vietnam increased by 9% to GBP3.5m (US$5.5m). In Brussels, drinks trade body SpiritsEurope said the elimination of the import tariff will open Vietnam's market to more European brands.

The FTA, which is yet to be ratified but was agreed in principle today, also included an agreement from Vietnam to boost its intellectual property legislation.

"We invite the European Parliament to ratify the EU-Vietnam FTA as quickly as possible," said SpiritsEurope's director-general, Paul Skehan.

According to SpiritsEurope, Vietnam is a "high-growth" market for European spirits producers, with exports increasing from EUR5m (US$5.5m) in 2004 to EUR42m in last year.

However, "the full potential of the market, fuelled by the country’s sustained economic growth and dynamic demographics, has yet to be unleashed", Skehan said.

SpiritsEurope in the past has called on the EU to finalise other global free trade agreements that remain outstanding, including one with India that it hopes will abolish a 150% import tariff on spirits.