Washington, D.C. — The Distilled Spirits Council today applauded a U.S. government decision to launch a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement case challenging the Philippines’ discriminatory taxes on imported spirits, which can be as high as 43 times the tax rate applied to domestically-produced spirits.

“The Philippines has imposed a blatantly discriminatory tax on imported spirits for well over a decade,” said Peter Cressy, President of the Distilled Spirits Council, a national trade association representing producers and marketers of distilled spirits sold in the United States.  “These exorbitant taxes have made it nearly impossible for U.S. spirits exporters to break into the $3 billion Philippines spirits market.”

In 2008, U.S. spirits exports to the Philippines were valued at only $671,000; globally, U.S. spirits exports surpassed $1 billion for the second consecutive year (FAS value).

“The Distilled Spirits Council fully supports the Administration’s decision to pursue a WTO case against the Philippines, whose tax regime clearly discriminates against imported products in violation of WTO rules,” said Cressy.

“It is time for the Philippines to eliminate its WTO-incompatible tax system and provide a level playing field for imported spirits,” he added.

“We are very pleased that the Administration has requested formal WTO consultations with the Philippines and look forward to working closely with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as the dispute settlement process moves forward,” Cressy concluded.