The Chinese Ministry of Finance announced that tariffs for 187 product categories would drop from an average of 17.3% to 7.7% from December onwards. This decision came in response to growing demands from Chinese consumers eager to access quality products from abroad and Irish whiskey now stands to benefit.
Despite the global growth of Irish whiskey, sales to China have historically been very low with only 4,000 cases sold there in 2016, significantly less than in other Asian markets such as Japan and Thailand.
While domestic spirits have dominated the Chinese market to date, the decision by the world’s most populous country to cut tariffs on imported whiskey could be hugely significant.
“Given its increasing middle-class consumer base and the recent rapid boom in whiskey bars in Chinese cities” stated William Lavelle, head of the Irish Whiskey Association, “China will be a top priority for future Irish whiskey export growth and this halving in tariffs will greatly support this ambition.”
Bord Bia’s Export Performance & Prospects reports for 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 also state that whiskey exports rose from €410 million in 2015 to reach €505 million in 2016.