Today, 19 May, the British government has published the new tariff regime for imported wine that will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff on 1 January 2021
Should no agreement be reached between the UK and the EU before the end of the Brexit transition period, the new regime will see imported European wines taxed according to the UK Global Tariff (UKGT). These vary from wine to wine, but can be as high as €32/hl (about £26) for Champagne and Prosecco.
Miles Beale, CEO of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), has expressed his disappointment at the government's decision 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 reduces administrative burdens. It will not increase choice for consumers, but instead will add an unnecessary barrier to trade,' he said.
'This week the Chancellor warned [that] the UK 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,' Beale continued.
'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.'