The increased tax on beer, active in France since 1 January 2013, apparently cost the Belgian brewers some 58.6 million euro and that is why the federation of Belgian brewers wants Europe to condemn the tax.
Third of export to France
France is an incredibly important for the Belgian brewers, as 60 % of the production is exported and a third goes to France. The increased tax has slowed down the growth of Belgian beers in France, according to the Belgian Brewers federation.
French export grew 10.4 % between 2008 and 2012, with a volume growth of 4.75 %. 2013 turnover dropped 7.68 % and volume followed suit, with a 9.35 % drop to 3.22 million hectolitres. Compared to the 10.4 % growth ratio prior to the tax hike, the Belgian Brewers believe there is a 58.6 million euro difference.
"These numbers are worse than what we had expected some 6 months ago, based on our first impressions", Sven Gatz, president of the Belgian Brewers federation, told De Tijd. The federation blames the loss entirely on the tax, as wine sales did improve.
Complaint with Europe
The Belgian Brewers believe the tax was only meant to protects its own winegrowers and the government merely used the idea of pushing back alcohol usage as a fallacy. French brewers also face lower rates than foreign brewers, which seems to illustrate the federation's point.
That is why the Belgian Brewers filed a complaint with Europe to get the tax abolished, something they have tried before, but back then, it was dismissed. "I would not understand it if the Commission dismissed it, because even though French brewers also have to face the tax, they get lower rates. If the total beer market in France shrank 3 % and the import 16 %, then there's something wrong", Gatz concluded.