Caribbean rum to maintain existing tariffs post-Brexit

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A report by Melita Kiely for he Spirit Business.

When the UK’s Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020, Caribbean rum producers will benefit from the agreement negotiated by the trade and Caribbean governments to ensure tariffs on low-priced products continue.

The UK government published its new Global Tariff (UKGT) report in May, which contained the list of import tariffs that will be introduced once the nation’s transition period ends at the end of this year.

Komal Samaroo, chairman of the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA) and the Guyana conglomerate Demerara Distillers, said: “This vital, protective measure [was] put in place by Europe some two decades ago, followed intense lobbying by WIRSPA producers, in collaboration with our counterparts in the French departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe.

“Its maintenance goes some way to levelling the playing field for our producers.”

WIRSPA said the tariff was first negotiated to combat rums from other countries that provided “extensive subsidies” to their local sugar and rum producers.

Vaughn Renwick, WIRSPA CEO, added: “We do hope the UK and EU are able to agree to a trade arrangement that allows our products to move through Europe without additional red tape and costs.

“Going forward, we also will continue to work with governments to ensure that this arrangement remains, and that limited protections are not traded away in future negotiations.”

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