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Spirits Industry Lobbies for Free Trade


Spirits Industry Lobbies for Free Trade

New Zealand is part of an international alliance to eliminate tariffs on distilled spirits.

Thomas Chin, Chief Executive of the Distilled Spirits Association of New Zealand, returned last week (8-11 July) from a series of meetings held in Geneva as part of the World Spirits Alliance (WSA) forum.

The WSA represents the national spirits trade associations of Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, the US and NZ.

The forum drew together trade associations and leading brand principals* from around the world to discuss common issues and to bolster the position of distilled spirits in the World Trade Organisation free trade negotiations.

"It was important for the Association to have a voice in these meetings as a key matter concerning us relates to trade negotiations on market access for agriculture, which includes distilled spirits," says Thomas Chin.

New Zealand spirits exporters wanted to see elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers, liberalisation of restrictions on services, including advertising and simplified customs rules. Also high on the agenda was elimination of excessive regulation and clarification of the geographical indications and trademarks associated with spirits.

The Association believes accelerated trade liberalisation is essential for the industry to achieve its maximum potential. Along with the WSA, the Association was aiming to build governmental support of its cause.

"It was extremely beneficial to attend these meetings and I feel that some great progress was made, in particular, forging stronger links with other Associations in a similar position to us," says Thomas Chin.

The New Zealand industry has a domestic market estimated to be worth around $600m per annum, directly employing some 250 employees. Last year exports were at a record $62million.

Another key focus of the Geneva meeting was discussions with the New Zealand Ambassador concerning the worrying nature, conduct and direction of the World Health Organisation's management of alcohol consumption and advertising issues.

Separately, the independent Advertising Standards Authority 5 yearly Liquor Advertising Review, chaired by Sir Michael Hardie-Boyes, is due to report its findings on the future of New Zealand liquor advertising early next month.

ENDS

*Allied Domceq, Bacardi Martini, Brown Forman, Diageo, Jim Beam and Pernod-Ricard

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