Irish whiskey and dairy products with inputs from Northern Ireland are no longer recognized as EU products when sold to third countries. On Monday June 14th, William Lavelle, head of the Irish Whiskey Association, summoned by the Irish National Parliament (Oireachtas), explained to Senators that EU Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) do not recognize processing outside the bloc and therefore some Irish products, which happen to have some inputs from Northern Ireland, are losing their EU originating status.
Mr Lavelle appeared before the Seanad Special Select Committee on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union
According to Irish news outlet RTE, this can result in tariffs being applied to whiskey and dairy products when sold to third countries. The Northern Ireland Protocol ensures that products sold within the EU or UK are not affected.
We’ve been making whiskey for longer than any other nation in the worldWilliam Lavelle, head of the Irish Whiskey Association
Mr Lavelle appeared before the Seanad Special Select Committee on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, alongside representatives from Dairy Industry Ireland and the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland.
Representatives from Dairy Industry Ireland and the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland asked that the European Commission consider new rules of origin in all future EU Free Trade Agreements, to protect cross-border supply chains.
It is not uncommon for whiskey to be produced in one distillery can be brought across the border to be matured in a jurisdiction which could well be located in Northern Ireland.
Blended whiskeys often have ingredients from different sides of the border. Whiskey might be produced in the Republic of Ireland but bottled North Ireland, which would in turn cause it to lose its EU originating status. The same situation is observed in the dairy industry, reported RTE. Milk is transported across the border every day and is used for products such as butter, cheese, baby formula, among others.
Irish cream liqueur, it’s where dairy and whiskey actually meet, that product is an all-island productConor Mulvihill, Director of Dairy Industry Ireland
All three associations voiced their strong support for the Northern Ireland Protocol. Dr Mike Johnston, Chief Executive of the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland, told the committee that even if the protocol was not perfect, it has allowed Ireland to continue its trade flows without interruption.