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WSTA comments on the end of Transition period

Created: 05 January, 2021

Commenting on the announcement of a post Brexit trade deal with the EU Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said:

“Today’s announcement will be a welcome relief to the UK’s wine and spirit sector. We look forward to seeing the detail and to its swift ratification.

The threat of the introduction of wine tariffs and the uncertainty over the ability to move goods into and out of the EU were weighing heavy on the minds of businesses already reeling from the effect of Covid restrictions, while also having to prepare for the end of the transition period in a week’s time.

Businesses have been working hard ahead of 1 January 2021 to prepare for the introduction of new customs processes and systems, new labelling rules, new import certification rules for wine all of which will add to the cost of importing and exporting wine and spirits.  And yet, astonishingly, those businesses are still waiting for Government to grip the reins and confirm some of the details to allow trade with Ireland and the rest of the EU to continue next year.

Commenting specifically on wine, Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: 

“Tucked away in the annexes to the agreement, there is good news for the wine sector and the UK’s 33 million wine drinkers. The deal means that wine produced in either the UK or EU will not require the much feared, costly VI-1 certificate. Instead there will be a simplified import certificate with the eminently sensible prospect of the information being made available electronically in future – something which the WSTA has been calling for to benefit businesses both sides of the channel ever since the referendum.

“While not having to complete VI-1 certificates for EU wine coming into the UK and English and Welsh wines being sent to the EU is a welcome relief, the UK wine trade will still have to complete VI-1 forms when sending 3rd country wines to NI and the rest of the EU.  Businesses are still waiting on the UK Government to confirm the details necessary to complete the paperwork.  With less than a week to go before businesses shipping wine to the EU will need to complete these forms, it is simply unacceptable that they are still in the dark about the forms and processes required.

“However we are pleased that the politicians have clearly been listening to some of our recommendations. This is a good first step towards abolishing unnecessary and costly red tape. This is not only good news for UK wine businesses but also UK consumers who won’t see wine prices rocket.

“The Government could deliver one further bit of good news by cutting wine duty at the Spring Budget helping cash strapped consumers and allowing businesses hit hard by the pandemic to recover.”

Now the talks have concluded we urge the Government to pull out all the stops and finalise remaining detail so businesses will be able to continue to trade from 1 January next year to both parties – and consumers’ – mutual benefit.”

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