The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has called upon the government to suspend wine tariffs for six to twelve months in an effort to limit supply chain challenges in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
‘Since the referendum, the WSTA has campaigned consistently for a deal with the EU that delivers frictionless trade in goods, with no additional tariffs or costs,’ commented Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA.
‘If the UK ends up with a no-deal Brexit then wine businesses will have to cope with additional tariffs as well as another duty rise – which is highly likely to end up full square in the consumer’s lap, bumping up wine prices to an all-time high.’
There are currently no tariffs on wines imported from the EU, but a no-deal Brexit would cost the UK wine trade over £100 million a year. This would result in an extra 20p on top of the average retail price of £5.73 for a bottle of wine. The WSTA highlights that this is 53p more than what consumers paid before the Brexit referendum two years ago.
The suspension, argued Beale, would have less impact on the country’s finances than the high cost involved in setting up a new system to collect tariffs that do not currently exist.
‘This would be a pragmatic solution. It also leaves intact [the] government’s ability to remove tariffs on wine permanently – but as part of a future free trade deal,’ he explained.
Following advice from the WSTA itself to increase stocks by 20%, leading importers and merchants such as Bidendum, Direct Wines and Majestic Wine have already started stockpiling to secure availability and limit price fluctuation for at least a year following Brexit.
To communicate the negative effects that a no-deal Brexit would have on the wine and spirits trade, the WSTA has launched the #NoToNoDeal campaign. To learn more, visit www.dontbottleit.co.uk.