(Corrects by replacing Beam Inc for Fortune Brands, paragraphs 7-8)
WASHINGTON, Dec 21 (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday said it had prevailed in a World Trade Organization dispute with the Philippines over barriers to the Southeast Asian country’s alcohol market that hurt U.S. brands like Jack Daniel’s.
“This is an important victory for American distilled spirits producers and workers,” U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement.
“We urge the Philippine government to comply swiftly with the (WTO) panel and appellate body findings and eliminate the discriminatory treatment of imported distilled spirits in its market.”
In separate cases filed at the WTO, the European Union and the United States complained that the Philippines had violated global trade rules by taxing foreign alcoholic beverages at rates 10 to 40 times higher than brands made in the Philippines from home-grown materials such as sugar and palm.
The WTO generally bars its members from discriminating between imported and domestic products in their tax regimes.
The European Union and United States are the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 exporters of distilled spirits, but have been all but shut out of the Philippines, one of the largest markets for alcohol in the Asia-Pacific region. The victory is expected to help U.S. producers like Brown-Forman and Beam Inc break into the $3.4 billion Philippines spirits market.
Brown-Forman, based in Louisville, Kentucky, owns the Jack Daniel’s brand, and Beam, headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, produces Jim Beam whiskey. (Reporting By Doug Palmer; Editing by Eric Beech)