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Trading places: Commission needs more staff on trade

Wine and spirits suggestions for the revised EU trade strategy

Brussels, 7 July 2015 -  Every hour, the sale of high value, locally-rooted European spirits and wines abroad generates €2.2 million for the EU.  Put another way, a staggering €18.5 billion per year flows into Europe because of sales of iconic wine and spirits around the world.  Billions of reasons for the wine and spirits sectors to contribute to the revision of the EU Trade Strategy 2015.

Growth opportunities for wine and spirits lie mainly outside the EU.  This is why open trade is key to the prosperity of the wine and spirits sectors.  CEEV and spiritsEUROPE urge the EU institutions to adopt a very assertive, positive EU Trade Strategy over the next 5 years - focusing on key priority markets - and to strongly oppose protectionism both within the EU and around the world.

One of the main calls by spiritsEUROPE and CEEV is to allocate more resources within the Commission to the EU Trade Strategy.  “The Commission is committed to reducing its staff levels, but that overall reduction should not come at the expense of efficacy.  More resources should be allocated to the DGs that serve President Juncker’s objectives of growth and jobs” said Paul Skehan, Director General of spiritsEUROPE.  He added “This means more –and not fewer- resources to DG TRADE, AGRI and GROW to manage free trade negotiations with our trading partners, to enforce existing FTAs and WTO rules and to better staff EU delegations around the world”.

The role of the EU delegation as regards trade policy should be reinforced in order to co-ordinate EU and Member State actions in-market” said Ignacio Sánchez Recarte, Secretary General of CEEV.  He added “The recent creation of the Market Access Team for alcoholic beverages in India serves as a good example of how Delegations could work together with Member State embassies and industry to defend EU business concerns on the ground.”

The last request made in the detailed submission sent by CEEV and spiritsEUROPE to Commissioner Malmström is to resist any attempt by trading partners to exclude wine and spirits from negotiations on the ground of religious, social or health arguments, especially when these countries allow the production and sale of domestic alcohol beverages.

 

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