Irish whiskey industry welcomes reductions in Canadian spirits levies in line with CETA deal

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Calls for Ireland to ratify CETA agreement

Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey, the representative body for the Irish whiskey industry, has welcomed the news that, from today (01.04.21), the Liquor Control Board of Ontario will reduce their levies on EU and UK spirits by 42 per cent, while another Canadian province – Québec – is due to reduce their levies on imported spirits by 16.4 per cent from 23rd May.

Commenting today, William Lavelle, Head of Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey, said: “These latest reductions come on foot of audits carried out at the request of the EU under the terms of the CETA agreement, and will open up new opportunities for Irish whiskey brands.”

Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey, the representative body for the Irish whiskey industry, has called on members of Dáil Éireann to vote in favour of Ireland’s ratification of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. 

While the CETA deal has been in ‘provisional effect’ since 2017, it still requires ratification by all EU members states and Ireland has been one of the states not to have yet approved it. It is expected that Ireland’s ratification of the agreement will be voted upon by the Dáil in the coming weeks.

Calling on TDs to back the CETA deal, William Lavelle, Head of Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey stated: “Since the CETA deal came into provisional force, sales of Irish whiskey in Canada have increased a massive 44 per cent, to 3.5 million bottles in 2019. A major contributor to this growth has been the reform of levies, known as the cost-of-service-differential, which are imposed by provincial liquor retail monopolies in Ontario and Quebec, the two most populous provinces in Canada.”

The cost-of-service-differentials in Ontario and Quebec were initially changed from an ad-valorum (per value) basis to a flat charge in 2018. This particularly benefitted premium-priced Irish whiskey.

From today, 1st April, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) have reduced their cost-of-service-differential on EU and UK spirits by 42 per cent, while Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) will reduce their cost of service differential on all imported spirits by 16.4 per cent from 23rd  May.

Lavelle added: “These reductions have been very welcome in that they have allowed Irish whiskey, particularly premium Irish whiskey products, to be priced more competitively while also delivering more scope to Irish whiskey exporters to invest in enhanced promotion in Canada.

“There remains a number of outstanding discriminatory levies and mark-ups in place across Canadian provinces, but the CETA agreement offers the best path to address these outstanding matters and that’s why we need Ireland to finally ratify the agreement.”

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