European spirits’ exports reached €10.2 billion in 2012, a positive growth of 20% from the €8.5 billion in the previous year. As a result, spirits are and remain the EU’s biggest agri-food exports and generated a positive balance of trade close to €9 billion last year.
These are great results, and show the competitiveness of the sector in some very difficult markets around the world. At a time when many domestic European markets are struggling, we underline the importance of these thriving export markets to this sector. These exports generate jobs and investment in Europe at a time when both are badly needed. And, they generate close to €9 billion net for the European economy, as imports of spirits to the EU remain steady.
Looking closely at key exports markets:
- A solid growth in the USA (over €3 billion with a 22% increase) and Canada (with a 31% increase compared to 2011). These two markets continue to be attractive for our European products.
- Growth for premium branded European spirits remained strong in emerging markets, driven by China (+19%) despite the economic slowdown, and South East Asia (+25%). FTAs with ASEAN countries are necessary to continue to target the huge potential in South East Asia that remains untapped.
- Growth in Eastern Europe is driven by Russia (+37%, the second largest export market overall) despite a challenging market environment.
- While India is a growing market, EU imported spirit drinks only represent a tiny fraction of the total market which should grow substantially with the conclusion of an FTA, currently being negotiated.
- Growth is driven by the whiskies category (44% of spirits exports) followed by cognac (26% of total exports).