The Australian Real Craft Brewers Association (ARCBA) is calling on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to push for equality and fair trade for small independent craft breweries.
Redoak founder and chairman of the ARCBA, David Hollyoak says, “Whilst other countries are putting measures in place to protect their industries, I am amazed our Government is not making a stand for Australian industries in a clear unfair trading position.”
WTO’s director-general, Roberto Azevêdo, recently highlighted his concern that restrictive trade measures continue to rise in member economies. Of the 1,244 restrictive measures recorded since 2008, only 282 restrictive measures have been removed. Many member countries have put in place new trade restrictions or measures such as government subsidies that have the potential to restrict trade or distort access to domestic markets.
“America, Canada, the European Union have all implemented significant measures to support and promote their own small independent breweries and have flourishing craft beer scenes. Yet, Australia lags behind in a global context as it has not brought the taxation on beer into line with OECD 33 countries and WTO member countries,” said Hollyoak.
“We are not wanting free trade, we simply want fair trade. 22 out of 33 OECD countries provide significant support in the way of reduced taxation and government subsidies to their local small independent craft breweries. This means there is inequality and a lack of fair trade for Australian breweries when competing against big international breweries and other imported craft beers who are supported in their country of origin.”
Hollyoak is seeking to end this disparity, and has asked the WTO and the Australian Government to move to an international definition of ‘small brewery’ across all member countries and for all countries to extend the same level of government support and subsidies to these ‘qualified’ breweries irrespective of their country of origin. Then, and only then, will small independent craft breweries have equal and fair trade.