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Irish whiskey makers press EU for tariff-free access to Indian and Thai markets

DUBLIN: Ireland has stepped up pressure on the European Union to allow tariff-free access to Irish whiskey in the Indian and Thai markets. It comes as the EU prepares to restart trade negotiations with both nations.

The Irish whiskey makers are also seeking the help of the UK government to secure agreements with these Asian countries. William Lavelle, the head of the Irish Whiskey Association (IWA), said there are concerns that the market would suffer as a result of the EU tariff. The IWA is seeking some concessions in this regard.

The EU and India’s leaders agreed in May to start talks on separate trade and investment agreements, but have yet to hold their first meeting.

India is the world’s largest whiskey market, selling 2.2 billion bottles each year. However, India charges 150% tariff on imported whiskey, so 97% of the whiskey sold there is domestic.

Representatives of Ireland’s dairy industry have also expressed concerns about tariffs to both the government and the EU. The industry is urging the EU to understand the requirements in the context of international trade deals and to change complex rules. Although Irish dairy products are popular in the Indian market, the market is experiencing a decline as prices rise due to rising taxes.

Meanwhile, the UK said this week that it aims to start its own trade talks with India before the end of the year.

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