Irish whiskey industry welcomes coming into force of EU-Vietnam trade agreement


– Association calls on new Government to continue to support future EU trade agreements –

Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey Association has welcomed the new EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which comes into force tomorrow 1st August 2020. The new agreement provides for the elimination of the existing 45 per cent tariff on Irish whiskey.

William Lavelle, Head of Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey Association, said: “This new trade deal FTA will greatly support the future growth of Irish whiskey exports to Vietnam. These would include a full phasing-out of the current excessive tariff of 45 per cent; and legal recognition for the Irish whiskey geographic indication, protecting Irish whiskey from fake competitors.”

While sales of Irish whiskey to Vietnam have historically been low, there has been a near trebling of sales in the past two years, with an estimated 78,000 bottles sold in Vietnam in 2019. The Irish whiskey industry has identified Vietnam, and in particular the city regions of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, as priority future growth regions. The population in Vietnam is quickly approaching 100 million. Every year, a million new consumers enter the legal drinking age. 

“The last decade had seen a boom in Irish whiskey exports to North America and Europe,” said Mr. Lavelle. “The next decade will see an increasing focus on Asia; and trade agreements such as that on offer with Vietnam will help open up Asia to Irish whiskey.”

Mr. Lavelle also called on the new Government to continue to support future EU trade agreements: “International free trade has been getting a lot of bashing lately, with proposed EU trade agreements being subjected to criticism both at home and abroad. But there are a lot more winners than losers when it comes to free trade and Ireland, as a small, export-focussed island economy has been one of the biggest winners.

We are calling on the new Government to double-down on free trade, to ratify upcoming agreements, leveraging all the benefits on offer while working to mitigate any impacts as a result of the broader changing trends in the global economy.”


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