FRENCH MINISTER OLIVIER BECHT TO ADDRESS THE COGNAC SECTOR AT THE BNIC ON DECEMBER 15
Olivier Becht, French Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and Foreign Nationals Abroad, will meet with Cognac sector professionals during their Plenary Assembly and Assembly of Cognac DMO delegates, taking place at the BNIC tomorrow, December 15. This will be the opportunity to discuss the current international trade situation and address the issue of US tariffs. The sector is calling for these tariffs to be permanently suspended so Cognac exports are not jeopardized in 2023 by a global economic context which will undoubtedly have an impact.
Tomorrow, Thursday December 15, the French Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and Foreign Nationals Abroad, Mr. Olivier Becht, will visit the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC) during its Plenary Assembly and the Assembly of Cognac DMO delegates.
He will be welcomed by BNIC President Christophe Veral, BNIC Vice-President Alexandre Gabriel, Cognac Defense and Management Organization (DMO) President Eric Bilhouet, DMO Vice-President Mélina Py, and all sector representatives. Prefect of the Charente Departement Martine Clavel, Sub-Prefect of the city of Cognac Sébastien Lepetit, and the region’s main elected officials will also be present.
International trade and market access
This ministerial visit follows the BNIC President and Vice-President’s invitation to Mr. Becht after meeting with him in Paris in October. The visit is taking place just a few days after French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to the United States.
“We are honored to welcome Mr. Olivier Becht tomorrow in Cognac. A few days ago, the French President was in the United States. We have asked for the French government’s support to secure access to our largest market – the US – and to continue working on the various trade agreements that promote our exports. We must also be able to develop in markets such as India and key African countries,” states Christophe Veral. “This ministerial visit to Cognac demonstrates that our sector’s importance for the French economy and foreign trade is taken into account at the highest level.”
Slowdown and the need to avoid “Trump taxes”
Tomorrow’s meeting is set against a global context inflation and consumption slowdown. After two years of exceptional results, Cognac exports are expected to slow over the next few months and return to their pre-pandemic levels.
Between December 1, 2021 and November 30, 2022, the Cognac sector shipped 217.3 million bottles, representing nearly 4 billion euros in turnover. This reflects a 2.1% decrease over the last 12 months and an 11% increase in value due to a favorable exchange rate, a move upmarket, and a higher valuation of Cognac on its growth markets in a context of global inflation.
This slowdown – which should be confirmed in the first half of 2023 – will make it more necessary than ever to find a definitive solution to the trade disputes that threaten Cognac and all French wines and spirits. To recap, Europe and the new US administration came to an agreement in November 2021, allowing the temporary suspension of all punitive tariffs introduced on these products by the Trump administration. However, the transatlantic disputes over aeronautics, steel and aluminum that led to their adoption have not been resolved. “Without a long-lasting solution to these disputes, tariffs will be automatically reintroduced on the agreement’s expiry date. This could have serious consequences for French wines and spirits, including the Cognac sector,” reminds Alexandre Gabriel. “As the United States is Cognac’s biggest market, this topic will obviously be prominent in our discussions with the Minister tomorrow at the BNIC.”
ABOUT THE BNIC
The BNIC, or Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac, represents, develops and preserves the Cognac AOC (Appellation d’origine contrôlée), both in France and abroad.
In the 150+ countries where Cognac is sold, this Geographical Indication provides consumers with a guarantee that they are buying an outstanding wine spirit. Comprising an equal number of members from the winegrowing and commercial sides of the industry, the BNIC is a coordination and decision-making body which brings together almost 4,300 winegrowers and grower-distillers, 120 professional distillers, and 290 merchants operating within the appellation.
The BNIC defends the interests of Cognac producers and consumers, with an unwavering commitment to everyone with an interest in this appellation.