The trade deal is entering its final stages

The trade deal is entering its final stages

Industry bodies have welcomed the prospect of final sign-off over a “landmark” trade deal between the EU and Canada, which includes scrapping import tariffs on spirits and wines. 

On Friday, negotiations closed between the EU and Canada over the deal - the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). However, the deal, first tabled a year ago, must still go through a legal review and translation prior to being presented to the Canadian and European parliaments for approval, according to The Economist.

Paul Skehan, Spirits Europe's director general, called the agreement “great news for the spirits sector in Europe”. He added: “At a time when domestic markets are difficult, export markets are providing the only opportunities for growth.”

Canada is currently the fifth largest market for European spirits, generating around EUR285m (US$361.6m) for the European economy each year, Skehan flagged. 

As part of the deal, the two parties have agreed to scrap the “obligation to blend bulk spirit imports with local content”. Canada has also agreed to "increased transparency in the way provincial liquor boards operate". The country will also protect products with Geographical Indication status – such as Scotch whisky and Cognac. Meanwhile, the EU will give protection to Canadian whisky and Canadian rye whisky.

Jan Westcott, Spirits Canada's President & CEO, said: “Canadian spirits manufacturers warmly welcome CETA as a key milestone in Canada’s aggressive trade liberalisation strategy.”

He added: “We now look forward to a smooth and speedy ratification of the CETA Agreement by the European Parliament and member states”.