As Brexit talks begin today, the on-trade and wider hospitality industries are staring down the gun barrel of an event which few feel can have a positive impact on the things we love.
The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) last night urged Brexit secretary David Davis to push for a fully negotiated deal to ensure minimum disruption to historic trade flows and give the UK’s wine and spirit businesses time to grow non-EU trade.
Uncertainty has been the name of the game since that fateful day on 23 June 2016, but whether Brexit is ‘hard’, ‘soft’, or ‘red, white and blue’, what we do know is that the ‘worst possible outcome’ for businesses would be no deal at all.
‘Failure to agree terms resulting in a cliff-edge "no deal" Brexit would be the worst possible outcome and totally unacceptable. This would inevitably lead to disruption to trade flows in the short term and significant uncertainty for business in the medium term – until trade deals with the EU and the UK’s other major trading partners could be agreed,’ said WSTA chief executive Miles Beale.
‘While there has been a great deal of speculation over recent days about what the election result means for Brexit negotiations, the WSTA’s position remains unchanged,’ Beale said. ‘We have long argued for a negotiated deal, including a full “divorce” settlement and agreement on the terms of the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU.
The UK is the world’s largest exporter of spirits, and second-largest importer of wine, with these industries supporting 296,000 and 277,000 jobs respectively.
‘Our industry needs all the European politicians to hear and understand this message from the entire international wine industry. EU politicians have a responsibility to our industry to deliver a Brexit that in no way disrupts the long established trading patterns on which we all rely,' Beale added.