The West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers’ Association Inc.


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Presentation by Frank Ward - Chairperson

What is WIRSPA?
The West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers’ Association Inc.
–Founded in the 1960’s and based in Barbados
–Represents national rum associations from 13 ACP Caribbean countries

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The West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers’ Association Inc.

  1. 1. What is WIRSPA? The West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers’ Association Inc. – Founded in the 1960’s and based in Barbados – Represents national rum associations from 13 ACP Caribbean countries: Antigua & Barbuda Barbados Belize The Dominican Republic Grenada Guyana Haiti Jamaica Suriname St Lucia St Vincent and the Grenadines Trinidad & Tobago
  2. 2. WIRSPA VISION – To be viewed as quality producers respecting international best practice in areas of production, environment and social responsibility. – To see rums carrying the Authentic Caribbean Rum Marque represented at the top tier of the world drinks market – For the Authentic Caribbean Rum Marque to be an authoritative, self-sustaining and enduring instrument for the benefit of the ACP Caribbean rum industry
  3. 3. The importance of rum to the ACP Caribbean region • Some 50,000 jobs are related to rum in ACP Caribbean – around 10,000 direct employees – many in poorer rural areas – an important employer of female labour - increased by 20% since 2003 – overall skill levels improved by training initiatives • Island economies have little manufacturing – …but over 70% of Rum is exported – Rum is a strong foreign currency earner - some US$500 million pa – Tax revenues now total around US$250 million pa – up by 40% since 2003
  4. 4. DIVERSITY - 13 ACP Caribbean Countries, 18 companies, numerous excellent brands
  5. 5. Role of WIRSPA – To promote the development of ACP Caribbean rum as a premium category in the international drinks market – To represent the interests of our member associations and in turn their member companies – To advise CARIFORUM governments on trade policy with respect to rum – To promote technical collaboration and environmental best practice. – To promote common standards and definitions for rum. – To promote the responsible advertising, marketing and consumption of rum products
  6. 6. Trade Advocacy CARICOM and CARIFORUM Member States negotiate trade agreements for the benefit of and on behalf of the private sector It is therefore incumbent on industry to comprehensively brief Member States in a timely manner on issues which the industry considers could be detrimental to its ability to conduct business in its domestic and export markets.
  7. 7. Trade Advocacy The CARIFORUM rum industry is export driven. The three traditional markets are Canada, the EU and the USA. Individual companies are also focussing on new markets in emerging economies. The heavy dependence on exports has driven a strategy of monitoring governmental and commercial activity in its export markets. This “early warning” system has proved beneficial in bringing the concerns of the industry to the attention of CARIFORUM member states
  8. 8. Trade Advocacy The “early warning” system monitors a wide spectrum of activity. Examples include: – Accelerated erosion of tariffs applied on rums from third countries entering the EU market. – Introduction or modification of regulations which may have an influence on market access. – Unfair competition. – WHO initiatives to curtail the advertising and sale of beverage alcohol. – Collecting data regularly on rum exports to its main markets from all exporting countries. Forging alliances with beverage alcohol industry groups is an important trade advocacy activity.
  9. 9. Trade Advocacy WIRSPA has representatives in the major export markets of its members – London (European and WTO) – Ottawa – Washington DC Representatives monitor and report regularly on developments which could have an adverse impact on the CARIFORUM rum industry to compete effectively in the marketplace. WIRSPA has a strategic alliance with the rum industry of the French DOM’s to collaborate on matters of mutual interest. WIRSPA actively participates in the World Spirits Alliance.