IWA urges European Parliament to ratify EU-Japan FTA

The Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) is calling on members of the European Parliament to approve the EU-Japan free trade agreement this week.

The EU-Japan free trade agreement, also known as the Economic Partnership Agreement, will come to a vote tomorrow (Wednesday 12 December).

The agreement was signed on 17 July 2018 and represents the “largest” bilateral trade deal ever done by the EU. It is set to come into force on 1 February 2019 if ratified by the European Parliament and the EU Council.

Once in effect, Irish whiskey will benefit from the protection of a geographical indication (GI) in Japan for the first time. This will mean that only whiskey produced in Ireland in accordance with EU regulations can be labelled and marketed as Irish whiskey in Japan.

The IWA also stated that the deal will create a trade zone of 600 million people, covering a third of global GDP and about 40% of global trade.

William Lavelle, head of the IWA, said: “Historically, sales of Irish whiskey in Asia and the Far East have been low.

“However, Japan represents the largest market for Irish whiskey in Asia and is among one of the Asian markets identified by the Irish Whiskey Association as offering significant future growth potential. Already, last year, sales of Irish whiskey grew by 15.6% in Japan.

“Protecting the name of Irish whiskey and the high standards which are the hallmark of Irish whiskey is critical to support future export growth.

“The EU-Japan agreement will extend protection to Irish whiskey in Japan for the first time and we would call on MEPs to ratify this deal on Wednesday.”

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Author: Melita Kiely {authorlink}