The WSTA highlights concerns about post-Brexit trading for fine wine merchants

The organisation said the economic importance of the UK’s fine wine industry is not understood or appreciated by the UK government.

The fine wine industry is worth £5billion globally, with a third of the world’s fine wine trade in the UK. 

The WSTA said: “EU-originating products account for the overwhelming majority of sales. £650million-worth of wine exports makes the UK a global hub for wine, which is put at risk without a deal with the EU post-transition.”

It said that if Britain charts a new course there is opportunity, and the WSTA has submitted its vision for post-tradition trading.

Within this is said the UK should join the World Wine Trade Group as soon as possible, and zero tariffs should be applied, to reduce complexity around trading wine.

It said the UK government should seek to minimise complexity in import/ export requirements, including the abolition of VI-1 import certification for wine. And it should “commit to greater promotion of our world-leading wine industry”.

The WSTA also suggested greater digital compliance, for example with online duty payments, and it said: “These are all steps the UK Government can take now to provide certainty, regardless of the outcome of EU negotiations.”

The WSTA pointed out that the fine wine industry is a highly complex supply chain, and aged wines may have multiple border crossings during their lifetime. For this reason VI-1 forms are “completely impractical, or even impossible for fine wines, particularly the need to submit product for lab testing”. 

Lix-Ex alone has estimated a need to produce around 65,000 VI-1 forms. The WSTA is running a member-only VI-1 working group on July 16 and registration for this is now open.

Another point made by the WSTA is that the movement of goods post-tradition will be different for the UK fine wine trade. Full customs declarations will be required from Day 1 and the UK will likely lose access to EMCS (the system for managing EU movements of alcoholic goods), it said.

Other threats to the UK’s fine wine industry include the UK Global Traffis, which has now been published.

The WSTA said: “This represents a relatively minor cost per bottle when it comes to fine wine, but the system is hugely bureaucratic, and there are around 200 lines for wine alone”.

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