Contributing Lawyers


Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross


Andrew Hudson

More Alcohol Trade Wars at WTO - This Time Involves EU and Philippines

On July 29, 2009,  the European Union announced it filed a request for consultations at the WTO against the Philippines over what the EU claims are excessively high duties imposed on imports of EU distilled spirits (e.g., brandy and whisky).  In 2004, new discriminatory measures were introduced by the Philippine government. The new rules saw excise tax increase by 30% for locally-produced spirits and by 50% for imported spirits. A further implementing regulation was introduced in 2006, extending the discrimination even further. Jamie Fortescue, director general of the European Spirits Organisation said: 

“Our members have been struggling with the situation in the Philippines for some years now.  Depending on the net retail price of the imported product, the tax charged on it can be up to 50 times more than the tax applied to local brands."

The EU considers the Philippines' excise tax rules to be discriminatory and therefore in breach of WTO rules.

The European Commission said that:

"Imported spirits including Spanish brandy and Scotch whisky can face taxes 10 to 50 times higher than those on domestic products, and exports to the Philippines have fallen significantly as a result,"

The European Commission also noted that sales of local spirits in the Philippines have risen by eight percent since 2005, while EU exports to the South East Asian nation fell by roughly half from 2004 to 2007.

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