WSTA ‘hopeful’ following PM’s Brexit speech

18th January, 2017 by Arabella Mileham

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association says it remains hopeful of a good deal for the UK following the Prime Minister’s ‘hard Brexit’ speech this week.

Yesterday the Prime Minister outlined her plans for the UK withdrawing from the EU in a widely-anticipated speech, in which she made it clear that the UK will not pursue a ‘soft” option that would look to keep the UK in the single-market and its relationship with the custom market was also likely to change, freeing the UK to make its own external trade tariffs. However she said she will push for the “freest possible trade” with the EU, and avoid a ‘cliff-edge’ scenario whereby the UK defaults to WTO tariffs two years after the trigger is pulled.

She told the remaining 27 states: “We want to buy your goods, sell you ours, trade with you as freely as possible, and work with one another to make sure we are all safer, more secure and more prosperous through continued friendship.”

In response, Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said: “We hope the government succeeds in negotiating the best possible deals for uninterrupted trade with the EU upon leaving the Single Market; and welcome the aim to achieve tariff free access. We also wish to see the government achieve the best possible platform for bilateral trade deals with priority countries, including government recognising the value of industry preparing the ground in advance – as the WSTA has already started to do.

He said the size and the contribution made by the wine and spirit industry – which is worth some £50bn per annum to the UK economy – should not be ignored; and its influence with key trading partners should not be underestimated.

“The UK is a key hub for international wine trade, it is the second largest wine importer by volume (behind Germany) and by value (behind USA), cementing its role as a key international player,” he said. “The UK is also by far the largest exporter of spirits in the world and we hope to see these mutually beneficial flows of trade continue.”

In December the WSTA laid out its objective for the wine and spirit industry in a white paper, stating that one of its fundamental objectives was to support a Brexit that would minimise disruption to historic trade flows into and out of the EU.

It argued that the industry was both highly united and uniquely well-placed to advise government and should be able to lead free trade negotiations to secure the best deals.

In the paper, it called on the government to ensure tariff and quota free access to the EU market in order to maintain the UK’s position as a hub of the international wine trade and that any controls on the movement of people should ensure continued access to a skilled workforce – including winemakers, pickers and the hospitality sector.

It also flagged up the top ten ‘priority’ counties for trade deals which included Australia, Canada, the EU, South Africa and US along with Argentina, Chile, New Zealand for imports, and China, Japan and Singapore for exports.

It has encouraged its members to work with trading partners to develop model agreements with EU and third countries ahead of Article 50 being triggered.

WSTA Chairman Dan Jago said the wine and spirits is facing one of its toughest eras with Brexit posing a “monumental challenge”. 

One of the immediate concern for wine producers, importers and retailers remains the instability and fluctuations in the exchange rate, for although this seems to rally following May’s speech, financial analysts speaking to the Independent newspaper have said it is unlikely to last. But May’s speech has still left many questions unanswered – not least because of the reaction from EU.

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

Job vacancies

Sales Account Manager

Jascots Wine Merchants
London, UK

Marylebone Sales Manager

Philglas & Swiggot
Marylebone, London, UK

Area Sales Manager

Bon Coeur Fine Wines
North England, UK

Procurement Assistant – Wine

Adnams PLC
Southwold, UK

Account Manager Central London

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

Brand Ambassador

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

National Business Development Manager

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

Marketing Assistant

Hatch Mansfield
Ascot, Berkshire, UK

Marketing Manager

Bancroft Wines
London, UK

Regional Sales Manager – Scotland

Bancroft Wines
London, UK

Sales Manager – London On-Trade

Bancroft Wines
London, UK

Customer Service & Sales Support Executive

Jascots Wine Merchants
London, UK

Market Insight Analyst

Conviviality PLC
London, UK

Technical Manager

Enotria&Coe
Park Royal, London, GB

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

Deadline : 25th August 2017

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

Deadline : 25th August 2017

Global Chardonnay Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st September 2017

The Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st September 2017

Click to view more

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.

The Global Organic Masters 2017

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

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Click to view more