UK Wine exports grow 21% in first half of 2017

Wine comes in at sixth spot in a list of the UK’s most exported food and drink products, reinforcing the UK’s status as the hub of the world wine industry.

Figures released today by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) show a 21% increase in value and a 15.4% increase in volume sales of wine from January to July 2017.

UK food and drink exports rose most sharply to South Korea, by 77%, and exports to China and Australia increased greatly too, by 35% and 24% respectively.

Overall, however, the UK’s food and drink trade with the EU is worth far more than overseas - £6.3 billion compared to £4.0 billion - underling the importance of striking the right deal with the EU in Brexit negotiations. The EU’s share of all UK food and drink exports is 61.2%.

Alongside the UK’s well known and leading global spirits position, the UK is also the hub of the global wine industry. Much of the wine that is originally imported here is then reshipped to the EU, as well as markets further afield, particularly to the Far East and countries like China, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The WSTA argues that the figures show the importance of ensuring the UK gets the right deal as it leaves the EU, one in which trade can continue uninterrupted, and wine trade agreements, like those the EU currently enjoys with the USA and Australia, can be preserved and transferred to work for the UK post-Brexit.

The WSTA is working with wine trade bodies right across Europe, particularly with Comite Vin and more globally with the World Wine Trade Group to ensure the greatest trade alignment at both a European and international industry level.

WSTA figures show that wine exports to the EU were worth £189m in 2016 alone and this year looks set to increase value further with such positive growth in the first six months.

Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, Miles Beale, said:

“The figures released today demonstrate that wine is a key export product for the UK, providing a significant contribution to British food and drink. We currently export more wine than beef or pork and at current trends we are set to overtake chocolate before long.

“The release of a customs paper earlier this week, detailing the Government’s intent to pursue an interim agreement whilst continuing negotiations with the EU over a free trade deal, is sensible. Uninterrupted trade with the EU is essential if we want to protect and increase our wine exports. It’s also sensible for EU wine makers exporting to non-EU markets via the UK, of course.

“Our industry also needs urgent clarity over the UK’s continued access to terms agreed under existing EU trade deals and wine agreements with third countries after March 2019 – particularly wine agreements with Australia and the USA, two key wine markets for the UK, as well as continuing to pursue a fast and comprehensive trade deal with the EU.

“The sooner businesses have this sort of clarity the easier a transition to a post-EU trading environment will be – when there also needs to be new bilateral trade deals of which British drinks can take advantage."

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