The Government has published the UK’s new tariff regime, which will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff on January 1, 2021, despite repeated calls from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association for it to reduce or drop tariffs on imported wines.
Miles Beale, the WSTA’s chief executive, said the Government’s new tariff regime for the UK is “more unwelcome news”.
He said: “It’s disappointing that the Government has ignored the UK’s world leading wine industry and chosen to keep wine tariffs when the transition period ends on 31 December.
“This runs counter to the Government’s narrative that its new UKGT takes a “common sense approach”, gets rid of nuisance tariffs or reducing administrative burdens. It will not increase choice for consumers, but instead will add an unnecessary barrier to trade.
“This week the Chancellor warned the UK it faces a significant recession. Today there is more unwelcome news from Government, with the prospects of reaching a deal with the EU looking increasingly unlikely, the UK’s 33 million wine drinkers will be faced with price increases on about half the wine they enjoy.
“It is yet another blow to wine importers, independent wine merchants, pubs, and restaurants at a time when so many are already worried about their businesses and making finances go further. The shutdown of the hospitality sector has been hugely disruptive, and this news just adds to a long list of worries.
“Government needs to start listening to – and acting upon – suggestions from UK businesses, including taking action now to remove burden and costs on UK businesses and allow them to be more competitive to aid the UK’s economic recovery.”