Brewers cautious over EU traceability plan

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Member states European union

New proposals designed to improve the traceability of consumer
goods like beer have been cautiously welcomed by an association of
European brewers, despite concerns over the exact cost of
the system.

The Brewers of Europe claimed the European Commission's latest plan would allow beer manufacturers in the bloc to compete efficiently in a single European beer market, though called for more information on the implementation costs.

The comments follow the EC's announcement on 14 February of proposals for a new electronic system (EMCS) for manufacturers of products requiring excise duties.

This system would allow them to follow their goods from the production line to their final destinations, ensuring an easier administration system for companies and groups exporting to other member states, the association said.

According to the EC, the measures can reduce losses and fraud during the transportation of products like alcoholic beverages, and simplify the current system of excise charges for beer.

Rodolphe de Looz-Corswarem, secretary general for the Brewers of Europe, welcomed the system, which he believes can simplify the administrative process for manufacturers and encourage greater trade of national beers in the bloc.

"We hope that Member States will finally enable consumers to benefit from the internal market for goods such as beer and approve the Commission proposal, where beer acquired for personal consumption is subject to taxes from the country of purchase," he stated.

"In today's world of online shopping, consumers in Europe should not be restricted as to where they order their favourite beer."

However, de Looz-Corswarem highlighted concern that the cost implications for businesses has not as yet been mentioned, creating difficulties for some brewers in adapting to the system.

"We fear that the compliance costs of its implementation will be very high for the brewers, particularly the thousands of small and local brewing entrepreneurs, and that certain transactions specific to our sector might not be correctly covered," he stated.

"It is an excellent opportunity for the [EC] and member states to align this proposal with other recent single market initiatives.

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