Irish Whiskey Association calls for tariff reductions with African markets

February 15, 2022

— Major EU-Africa Business Forum to include discussion on the rise of Irish whiskey —
Irish whiskey is now by far the largest – and fastest growing – EU spirits export to the continent of Africa. That’s according to the Irish Whiskey Association, which will today (15.02.22) host an online event, ‘#DiscoverIrishWhiskey: Leading EU spirits exports to Africa’, as part of the official schedule of the EU-Africa Business Forum.
The EU-Africa Business Forum takes place every three years in conjunction with the EU-Africa Union Summit. It brings together African and EU business leaders and political decision-makers to discuss how to improve the investment climate and increase economic partnership opportunities between the two continents. 
The Irish Whiskey Association reports that over 670,000 cases (over 8 million bottles) of Irish whiskey were sold across the African continent in 2020. Initial reports suggest strong growth again in 2021, particularly in Nigeria which has become one of Irish whiskey’s fastest growing markets in the world.
Speaking at the event, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy TD, said: “Irish whiskey has gone through a revival in recent years, building on a tradition of excellence and now charting a new path with sustainability and innovation at its heart. As one of the world’s fastest growing spirits, the future is indeed bright for the Irish whiskey industry. As Minister for Trade Promotion, I am committed to supporting Irish businesses expand and reach new markets, and Government continues to work toward establishing new trade relationships with our global network and partners to enable Irish businesses seize the opportunities these present.”
The Irish Whiskey Association has used the opportunity of the EU-Africa Business Forum to call for a reduction in high tariffs on EU spirits across the African market, particularly in those markets where the EU has put in place economic partnership agreements which have delivered widespread tariff reductions for other EU goods. At present, Irish whiskeys face a 20% tariff in Nigeria and 25% tariffs in each of Zambia, Kenya and Uganda.
William Lavelle, Director of the Irish Whiskey Association, stated: “We are calling on the European Commission to seek tariff reductions for EU spirits exports, led by Irish whiskey, to more African markets which the EU has economic partnership agreements with.  Reduction of tariffs will help grow Irish whiskey exports and support more jobs and more purchasing of Irish barley. It will also reduce costs for African consumers and tackle illicit trade which is costing African governments substantially in terms of lost taxes and excise.”
Today’s workshop is moderated by Denis O’Flynn of Clonakilty Distillery and Chairman of the IWA Category Education Committee. Other speakers include:

  • Tendai O’Connor, Marketing Activation Manager – Africa, Pernod Ricard/Jameson.
  • Gareth Douglas, Regional Director – Africa, William Grant & Sons/Tullamore D.E.W.
  • Ese Okpomo, West Africa Regional Manager, Bord Bia.
  • Ronan Mullen, Deputy Head of Mission, Irish Embassy in Nigeria.

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Contact: Ciarán Garrett / Emily Brennan, Alice PR & Events, Tel: 087-7158912 / 086-1658629, Email: