UK calms South African bulk wine tensions

South Africa has won a number of concessions during a visit last week from UK business secretary Vince Cable, as the two nations work to avoid a “bulk import war”.

UK business secretary Vince Cable

As reported previously in the drinks business, South Africa had already raised concerns about the decision by major UK retailers to import wine in bulk, claiming that the move had already led to around 700 job losses in its bottling and glass industries.

Although bulk wine shipments have won support from the Waste & Resource Action Programme (WRAP), a UK government funded body which promotes recycling and emission reduction, Cable acknowledged during last week’s visit that it would be “socially irresponsible” to incorporate these types of environmental concerns into UK trade policy.

In a further sign of efforts to defuse tensions, which had led to South Africa threatening to ship Scottish whisky in bulk in a bid to preserve bottling jobs, Cable also conceded: “We need to engage with our supermarkets to ensure that they understand the implications of those commercial decisions.”

South African trade & industry minister Rob Davies noted that the World Trade Organisation had imposed no regulations forcing countries to keep carbon emissions as low as possible when shipping goods, while arguing that a product manufactured in the UK would not necessarily have a lower carbon footprint.

According to figures from industry data provider SAWIS, the percentage of bottled wine volumes out of total exports to the UK, South Africa’s largest export market, slipped from 50% in 2003 to 22% in 2011. Between 2007 and 2011, bulk exports from South Africa to the UK grew on average by 19% each year, compared to a 12% decline in bottled wine.

One Response to “UK calms South African bulk wine tensions”

  1. Hi,

    Any update three years on regarding the impact of these “concessions”?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Regional Sales Manager (London)

Ian Macleod Distillers
London, UK

Wine Trader

Vintage Capital II PLC
London, UK

International Marketing Assistant

iDealwine
Paris, France

Senior Partner Manager - Managed On-Trade

Maverick Drinks
United Kingdom

Brand Activation Manager UK & Europe

Australian Vintage
London, UK

Sales Account Manager

Matthew Clark
Reading, UK

Brand Activation Executive

Pernod Ricard UK
London, UK

Logistics Administrator

Swig Wines Ltd
London

Customer Service Manager

Jascots Wine Merchants
London, UK

Transport Manager

Jascots Wine Merchants
London, UK

International Bulk Wine & Spirits Show (IBWSS)

California,USA
25th Jul 2018

Cape Wine 2018

Cape Town,South Africa
12th Sep 2018

The Wine & Spirits Show

London,United Kingdom
12th Oct 2018
Click to view more

The Global Malbec Masters 2018

Deadline : 1st August 2018

Champagne Masters 2018

Deadline : 1st August 2018

Click to view more

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

the drinks business is proud to announce the inaugural Global Malbec Masters 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters.

Click to view more