WSTA scores historic win as Government announce scrapping of arduous and unnecessary wine paperwork

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The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has won a significant post-Brexit victory, for its members and consumers, after government has agreed to scrap wine-specific paperwork on imports from across the globe.

Following the referendum, the WSTA started a campaign calling for Government to do away with the time consuming and costly VI-1 forms on imported wine.

The historic removal of this unnecessary red tape will mean the UK’s 33 million wine consumers will be able to continue to enjoy the vast range of imported wines without additional costs.

After leaving the EU the WSTA warned that the introduction of the new forms and laboratory test demands would have brought wine imports from the EU to a standstill and cost the industry approximately £70 million. Today’s decision to scrap all wine import certificates, not just those for EU wine, will see even greater savings – approximately £100m.

Defra’s announcement that wine-specific VI-1 forms will now not be required for imports from the EU and beyond, is a huge boost for producers, importers and consumers – 99% of wine consumed in the UK is imported, with 55% of that coming from the EU.

The UK wine industry contributes around £11 billion every year in economic activity and employs 130,000 people across the supply chain. The scrapping of these tariffs, championed by the WSTA will prevent the price of a bottle of wine increasing by around 13p.

If the plans to introduce VI-1s to wine coming in from the EU had come into play, imports would have required laboratory analysis – a process the WSTA estimates would have cost about £330 per shipment and may well have put off smaller producers from sending their wines to the UK reducing consumer choice.

Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said:

“This is a truly historic moment for the UK’s world-leading wine trade. We have spent more than two years campaigning relentlessly to avoid the introduction of new import certificates for EU wine imports on the one hand and scrapping the unnecessary and costly VI-1 wine paperwork for on-EU wine imports on the other. The first would have cost the UK wine industry some £70m [annually], reduced consumer choice and bumped up prices. The second will increase those savings to over £100 million. It’s a truly fantastic outcome.

It is heartening to know that Government trust the WSTA’s advice and are listening to the concerns of business, particularly SMEs. This is a major win for wine lovers and the UK wine industry. I am sure corks will be popping across the globe in celebration of this most welcome news.”

James Miles, Chairman and Managing Director (Co-Founder) at Liv-ex Ltd said:

“I cannot overstate how important today’s announcement is to the UK wine industry. The WSTA and its members have been campaigning hard to stop UK officials from imposing unnecessary import regulations on the wine trade.

Government has shown it is in tune with business by taking this once in a lifetime opportunity. By removing these unnecessary and costly non-tariff barriers to trade it has re-set our trading arrangements with the rest of the world in a way that that will enhance the UK’s leading position in the global wine trade.”

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