US: Spirits exporters secure access to Colombia

18 April, 2012

The US-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement will officially enter into force on May 15, 2012, according to an announcement from the US Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS).

DISCUS president Peter Cressy said: “As a result of this agreement, next month US spirits exporters will enjoy new access to this emerging spirits market.

“This is another positive step for global trade in distilled spirits.”

As of May 15, Colombia’s currently applied 15% tariff on US produced brandy, gin and liqueurs will be eliminated immediately. The 15% tariff on US 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 excise tax for spirits within four years, which will ensure that US spirits products are on a level playing field with domestically-produced spirits in the Colombian market.

Colombia is also to recognise bourbon and Tennessee whiskey as distinctive products of the US.

Cressy continued: “Although growing from a very small base, US exports of American whiskeys, including bourbon and Tennessee whiskeys, have shown rapid growth in recent years.”

The US exported no whiskey to Colombia in 2005; in 2011, however, the value of US whiskey exports to that market grew to over $417,000. Total US spirits exports to Colombia increased to $1.3 million in 2011, up almost 10% from the previous year.

Cressy concluded: “Once again, the US Trade Representative has secured meaningful market access and important protections for US spirits exporters. We are very excited about the opportunities for the US spirits industry.”

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