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Your email address will not be published.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 *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Sales Administrator

Ellis Wines
Hanworth, Middx, IU

Sales Support Executive

Davy's
London, UK

Partner Manager – On-trade - Greater London

Maverick Drinks
London/M25 belt, UK

Partner Manager – On-trade - North West

Maverick Drinks
Manchester, UK

Partner Manager – On-trade - West & Wales

Maverick Drinks
Bristol, UK

Partner Manager – On-trade - South East

Maverick Drinks
Brighton, UK

Events Sales Executive

The Drinks Business
Central London, UK

Sale & Operations Manager

Marussia Beverages
Marylebone, London, UK

Pink Rosé Festival

Cannes,France
7th Feb 2018

VinoVision Paris

Paris,France
12th Feb 2018

Vinisud

Montpellier,France
18th Feb 2018
Click to view more

Champagne Masters 2017

The only Champagne blind tasting in the UK, the competition will reward the best wines in the following categories:

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

Click to view more