United Support for Model Trade Agreements at Global Drinks Summit

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association met with international partners in Canada

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association met with international partners in Canada, last week, as part of the FIVS* Ottawa meetings for talks on developing post-Brexit trade agreements.

Drinks experts from across the globe assembled last Thurs (Sept 29) for a three day conference. Discussions included the impact on the global wine trade when the UK leaves the EU and how to minimise disruption to established trade flows and maximise opportunities.

Hosted by FIVS, the conference agreed to press ahead with developing model trade agreements for wine which can then be incorporated into formal pacts between Governments.

The conference came to a close on Saturday on the eve of the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May’s announcement that Article 50 will be triggered by the end of March 2017.

Speaking at the Tory Party Conference Mrs May said “we get the right deal for the UK, not looking at models that already exist but saying 'what's going to work for us?”

The WSTA and its international partners believe developing these model agreements will help government achieve the right deal.

The drinks industry summit also coincided with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s eight day royal tour of Canada, with Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

As part of trip Kate and William tasted wine and picked grapes at Mission Hill Winery in British Columbia.

Currently the UK has individual trading arrangements with countries outside the EU, which in most cases, both sides believe can be improved upon.


European Affairs Director, Simon Stannard, who represented the WSTA at the conference said:

“It is vital that the industry is on the front foot when it comes to preparing new free trade deals with third countries post Brexit.

The FIVS conference in Ottawa showed us how much support there is globally for a united industry approach to mutually beneficial trade deals.

And while the UK Government cannot formally enter into discussions with countries outside the EU while still in the EU there is nothing stopping industry, and that’s precisely what we’re doing.

We have agreed to work together to develop a model agreement to ensure that Brexit does not disrupt the trade flow of wine and spirits in and out of the UK and looking to remove some of the restrictions the EU currently imposes on imported wines.”

The UK is a key hub in the international trade of wine and is the second biggest importer of wine by volume and value in the world.

Britain is also by far the biggest exporter of spirits in the world. More than 25% of the world’s spirits exports come from the UK.

Gin is the second largest traded UK spirit after whisky with the USA and Canada coming top of the export destinations outside of the EU last year.


Greg Hodson, President of FIVS said:

“The UK is an incredibly important market in the international trade of alcohol beverages. FIVs brings together some of the key participants in this global trade, and we’re committed to working with our UK colleagues to ensure Brexit results in improved trade and investment.” 


For more information on model trade agreements please contact [email protected]

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