"Beer war" between France and Belgium continues

The Belgian Finance Minister Koen Geens has written an angry letter to his French colleague, to protest against a measure that the French government is considering. It involves a new tax on sugar in sweet beers, which would (again) affect the export of Belgian beer, Belgian brewers argue.

The news comes after an earlier setback for Belgian brewers. At the start of this year, the French government increased excise duty on foreign beers with 160 percent. This led to higher prices and "as expected, a significant drop in beer consumption", the Belgian brewers say in a statement.

However, as the French government is not generating as much cash from the excise duty due to the lower consumption, it is now looking at new ways to increase its income, the Belgian brewers argue.

They refer to the fact that French policy makers are now considering imposing excise duty on beers that contain more sugar than the average beer. This, again, would hit Belgian brewers badly, it is argued.

Belgium has a wide range of beers, but some specialty beers like the different varieties of Kriek are a bit sweeter as they contain more sugar. The Belgian Brewers' Federation has voiced its concerns towards the Belgian Finance Minister Koen Geens (Flemish Christian democrat), who has now written an angry letter to his French colleague, in an attempt to have the possible measure off the table.