EU spirits bet on international trade for recovery after a challenging year marked by COVID

Brussels, 29 June 2021. 2020 has been a challenging year for Europe’s spirits sector: exports declined by -19%, according to spiritsEUROPE’s latest Trade Report published today. Rebuilding transatlantic ties, fighting protectionistic measures, and ensuring robust enforcement of commitments made by third countries are among the 10 key recommendation listed in the Report to maximize the sector’s future export potential and boost the recovery.

Commenting on the report, Ulrich Adam, Director General of spiritsEUROPE said “In the next decade, 85% of global growth will take place outside of the EU. International trade and the ability to export our products throughout the world will be more critical than ever before, not just for our sector, but for the EU’s economy as a whole. When companies export and invest abroad, they export high quality standards, creating mutual benefits and paving the way for a sustainable recovery.” .

Commenting on how to seize these opportunities, Ulrich Adam added: “We should start by going back to tariff-free trade in spirits with the US, our first global market. Rebuilding the transatlantic alliance is a must if we want to focus on economic recovery and on tackling common challenges efficiently, through a positive and ambitious agenda, including a reform of the WTO. Going forward, we need to ensure that sectors in which the EU has a trade surplus are not brought into unrelated disputes and that trade policy acts as an enabler of sustainable growth.


The report contains 10 recommendations to strengthen the sustainable growth of EU spirits exports, building on past performance, in order to support the ongoing economic recovery of the sector.

Presenting these recommendations, spiritsEUROPE Trade & Economic Affairs Director Pauline Bastidon stressed the importance of an ambitious EU trade policy for European spirits. “Future growth in our sector will greatly depend on the EU’s capacity to rebuild transatlantic ties, maintain a constructive dialogue with China, ensure robust enforcement of commitments made by third countries, fight protectionistic measures in markets holding great potential such as India and strengthen the role and relevance of WTO. All these are shared objectives with the wider EU economy and a must to be able to put this health & economic crisis behind us all & embark on a green & sustainable transition.”


Note to editors

  • For more information, please contact: Ulrich Adam, Director General of spiritsEUROPE - Tel: +32 477 63 67 /

  • spiritsEUROPE is the representative body for the spirits industry at European level comprising 29 associations and 10 multinationals:
  • Trade Review 2021 (Click here for pdf)
  • Many quotes available in the Trade Review 2021 for you to pick from!
  • Programme of the launch event  – @spiritsEUROPE / #SpiritOfResilience


29.06.2021 EU spirits bet on international trade for recovery after a challenging year marked by COVID
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