THE EUROPEAN Commission has proposed that Portugal be allowed to apply a lower rate of excise duty levied in its two Atlantic island autonomous regions on locally produced and consumed spirits: rum and liqueurs in Madeira, and liqueurs and eaux-de-vie in the Azores.

It says this is justified by the fact that the islands' isolation hinders production methods, making locally produced drinks cost more than imported ones. A 75 per cent cut in alcohol excise duty should bring the price of local spirits into line, Brussels said. Sales of ...

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