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Facilitating Market Access


Access to new markets and more opportunities within existing ones is vital for the growth of the wine and spirit industry.   There can be many barriers to trade, from straightforward tariff barriers to more complex regulatory issues.  Through our international trade associations, the WSTA works to remove these barriers and resolve issues relating to free trade.


International trade agreements

The WSTA works to ensure that the interests of the industry are represented in international trade negotiations.  Through our European trade association CEPS, the European Spirit Organisation and CEEV, the representative body of the EU wine industry, the WSTA ensures that the sector’s interests are represented in trade negotiations, such as the World Trade Organisation’s Doha Round.  European wines and spirits together represent the EUs most exported agricultural products and the WSTA is very supportive of the EU’s ambitious trade policy agenda.

  • WTO Doha Round: We are committed to continuing to work with the European Commission to achieve success in the Doha Round.  CEPs and CEEV have made clear the industry’s support and principal objectives for the negotiations, which if successful, would deliver significant economic benefits in the major economies of the developing world, where future export growth lies.  The key issues are significant improvements in market access through real cuts in applied tariffs, and enhanced trade facilitation agreement and enhanced protection for Geographical Indications.
  • EU-Canada Free Trade Agreement: CEPS and CEEV have jointly submitted a document to the European Commission reiterating industry priorities for negotiations over the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.  These include ensuring that there are binding agreements so that Canadian Liquor Boards operate in a fair and non- discriminatory manner towards imported products and the removal of import tariffs and the  protection of GIs. 

Technical barriers to trade

Barriers to trade can arise within existing markets when a country breaches rules and agreements or imposes technical regulations on wine and spirit products, such as new standards of packaging and labelling.   When such a situation occurs, the WSTA works through all the necessary channels to raise awareness of the potential impact for UK businesses and press for a resolution.

  • Proposed regulations in Vietnam: In 2010, we worked with member companies to prevent a potential barrier to trade in Vietnam, when it proposed changes to its alcohol regulations. If applied, the legislation would have prevented exports of certain spirits to Vietnam. It would also have created a barrier to trade for wine, by introducing definitions for wine products which were not consistent with international standards.  As a result of international pressure, Vietnam agreed not to go ahead with these reforms.
  • Activity licences in Russia: Through CEPS, we are working to resolve the difficulties that some businesses are facing in Russia with obtaining or renewing alcohol wholesale licenses. These are required for distribution, supply and storage of alcohol. The process for obtaining a licence from the Russian authorities is unclear and subject to lengthy delays, causing considerable difficulties for businesses operating in this market.
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