European Union (EU) ministers have been asked by the European Commission to approve a trade deal struck with Syria. The deal would slash duties on drinks traded between the EU and the country.

Large EU duty free quotas would be opened for 40,000 litres of vermouth and other flavoured aromatic wines, 100,000 litres for Syrian exports of mineral and bottled waters and 20,000 litres for soft drinks.

Outside these quotas, EU duties on Syrian exports would be phased-out over 12 years on a variety of drinks including rum, taffia, Vermouth, bottled and flavoured water and soft-drinks.

In return, Syria would cut import duties by 40% on 50,000 litres of EU soft drinks and 300,000 litres of bottled water. It would phase out all duties on alcoholic aromatic bitters over three years, arrack over six years, beer, brandies, whisky, rum, taffia, gin, vodka, liqueurs, cordials, cherry spirit, calvados, Tequila, Vermouth and other flavoured wines, and mineral/bottled waters over 12 years.