The European Spirits Organisation - CEPS is set to target Turkey's trade barriers going forward.

In its annual review, released yesterday (31 July), the trade body said it is in the process of preparing a formal complaint to the European Commission highlighting the range of barriers to trade facing European spirit companies in the country.

The complaint will examine a range of aspects of the Turkish tax and import regime for spirits, highlighting what the organisation claims are breaches of the country's international commitments. The body said it will ask the Commission to examine these issues under the process laid out in the Trade Barrier Regulation. The complaint is expected to be submitted to the Commission after the summer break in Brussels.

"A discriminatory tax and import regime is distorting competition in the Turkish spirits market, with European spirit drinks denied the opportunity to compete on a level playing field in contravention of WTO and Customs Union Agreement rules," said Nick Soper, CEPS' rapporteur on Turkey. "The European Spirits Organisation will be asking the Commission to investigate the industry's difficulties in Turkey under the Trade Barrier Regulation procedure.

"We hope that early agreement can be reached on measures that will result in fair market access to Turkey for EU spirit drinks."

CEPS highlighted Turkey's Special Consumption Tax, under which imported spirits are taxed at up to double that of domestic spirits. The country also requires all imported spirits to obtain two separate import permits from two different administrative bodies, proving to be both "excessive and onerous, with less burdensome requirements for local spirits," the organisation said.