De Gucht said global growth will come mainly from outside the EU

De Gucht said global growth will come mainly from outside the EU

The European Union's trade commissioner has warned that Europe's spirits companies “cannot rest on their laurels” if they want to compete in the global market.

Karel De Gucht said the industry has a strong tradition of producing high-quality goods but must maintain its focus in an increasingly competitive market. “A tradition only has value if it continues to produce high-quality results,” De Gucht said. “If not, it's just a tourist attraction.”

De Gucht was speaking at the launch yesterday (25 June) of a new report that tracks European spirits companies' export success over the past decade. "Spirits: a European power house for trade" is published by SpiritsEurope, the representative body for the spirits industry at European level, and calls on the European Commission and European Parliament to support its members.

In his speech, De Gucht said spirits makers need to look beyond the EU because, over the next 20 years, 90% of the world's growth will take place outside of its borders.

“The more European companies are ready to meet that demand, the better off will be the 500m citizens of the European Union,” he said.

De Gucht also said the World Trade Organisation “must be preserved and expanded”.