Rum producers in the Caribbean have partnered with French group CIRT-DOM to attain better deals for their exports in major markets, particularly the European Union (EU).
Rum makers from the Caribbean Forum, members of the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers Association (Wirspa), recently signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with their French equivalent, CIRT-DOM, the rum producers of Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Reunion, which are all departments of France.
Koman Samaroo, chairman of Wirspa, said: “We have a long history of collaboration with our French counterparts, almost 25 years since the signing of our first agreement in 1997.
“Together we face a sharp rise in non-traditional imports of rum into our traditional markets, especially the European Union and the UK.
“Many of these competing brands do not always follow the rules and many benefit from extensive production and marketing subsidies which place us at a competitive disadvantage.
“These developments, coupled with the impact of Brexit and the new trade deals being pursued by the UK, underline the need for joint action.”
Both parties will strive towards a common goal of building the rum category based on authentic provenance, common rules and promoting a level playing field against growing competition from products that benefit from production subsidies.
Alain Chatel, president of the French grouping CIRT-DOM, said: “We have worked with Wirspa over several decades to promote rum rules that respect origin, and to urge compliance with the regulations which do not permit flavouring of rum, and labelling regulations that are truthful.
“Both our groupings are traditional producers of authentic rum based on true provenance and we have together worked to build the reputation of rum as a quality premium spirit, alongside the best of the best. We share a common philosophy.”