European spirits producers have voiced concerns over statements from Turkey's finance minister that the duty on spirits in Turkey is in line with EU rules. 

In a statement CEPS The European Spirits Organisation said: "The EU requires a single rate of excise duty, based on alcohol content, to be applied on all spirit drinks.  However, in Turkey, contrary to EU and WTO rules, two systems are used, one based on value and one based on alcohol content.  In the alcohol content system there are five different duty rates applied according to category of spirit drink."   

The statement continued: "Spirits duty in Turkey is also excessive by European standards with, for example, higher excise duty levied on whisky and rum than in all but 2 of the 25 EU Member States (Sweden and Ireland). 

High duty rates encourage both smuggling, undermining government revenue, and the production of illegal alcohol which is a threat to consumer health.  For this reason, in the last 18 months both Denmark and Finland have reduced spirits duty by over 40%."

Saying that the Turkish regime is contrary to EU and WTO rules, CEPS - The European Spirits Organisation again called on Turkey to take urgent action to meet international commitments by reforming its spirits duty system.  The European Commission has also called on Turkey to amend the regime.

Nick Soper, rapporteur on Turkey for CEPS said:  "Spirits duty in Turkey is high by European standards.  Such high taxes have been shown to operate against the best interests of consumers, government, and industry. The sooner Turkey reforms its excise duty regime in line with international rules, the quicker an organised market operating to the benefit of all will emerge."