U.S. Spirits Exporters Secure New Access to Growing Spirits Market

Calling it “Another positive step for global trade,” the Distilled Spirits Council applauded the announcement that the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement will officially enter into force on May 15, 2012.
“As a result of this agreement, next month U.S. spirits exporters will enjoy new access to this emerging spirits market,” said Distilled Spirits Council President Peter Cressy. “This is another positive step for global trade in distilled spirits.”
As of May 15, Colombia’s currently applied 15% tariff on U.S. produced brandy, gin, liqueurs, and certain other spirits will be eliminated immediately. The 15% tariff on U.S. whiskey, rum and vodka will be reduced to 14% in 2014 and further reduced by 2 percentage points annually until the duties are completely eliminated.
Other provisions of the agreement include a commitment by Colombia to eliminate its discriminatory excise tax regime for spirits within four years, which will ensure that U.S. spirits products are on a level playing field with domestically-produced spirits in the Colombian market.
Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskeys Are Protected
Colombia will also recognize Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey as distinctive products of the U.S., thus ensuring both producers and consumers that only Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey produced in the United States, in accordance with U.S. laws and regulations, will be available in the Colombian market.
“Although growing from a very small base, U.S. exports of American whiskeys, including Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskeys, have shown rapid growth in recent years,” Cressy said.  The U.S. exported no whiskey to Colombia in 2005; in 2011, however, the value of U.S. whiskey exports to that market grew to over $417,000. Total U.S. spirits exports to Colombia increased to $1.3 million in 2011, up almost 10 percent from the previous year.
“Once again, the U.S. Trade Representative has secured meaningful market access and important protections for U.S. spirits exporters.  We are very excited about the opportunities for the U.S. spirits industry,” Cressy concluded.


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