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WSTA calls on trade to ’embrace a brave new world of trading’ following Brexit

The WSTA has called on its members to ‘embrace the brave new world’ of trading following Brexit and to focus on the opportunities ahead, as it outlined its key priorities.

Chief executive Miles Beale said it was time to complete a trade deal with the EU and move on, as he reiterated the organisation’s top priorities and outlined the demands it is making of government.

“We need to focus on the opportunities and to steer government towards breaking down barriers on trade, while also reinforcing the UK’s position at the centre of international wine and spirit trading,” Beale said.

He said if practical steps were taken, the UK could keep its position as the number one spirit exported, but could also become the world’s largest wine importer, a position currently held by Germany.

“Our aim is to leave behind some clunky and outdated EU rules, while maintaining consumer confidence in the safety and quality of wine and spirits; and to find a way to free up trade through innovation and improved technology,” he said.

“Our ambitious agenda, combined with the support of government, gives us the opportunity maintain and improve our position as global leaders in the wine and spirit trade.”

The organisation has already put its list of ‘clear asks’ to government, after Beale met the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, Steven Barclay, last month to discuss how the trade can work with government to benefit our industry, jobs, economy and consumers.

They discussed the importance of creating opportunities to benefit UK exporters, importers and ultimately UK consumers.

The WSTA said that while most EU rules need to be maintained to protect consumers and confidence in brands, there were some that were unnecessarily burdensome that could be  dropped,

For example, the WSTA is currently working with members on definitions of flavoured gin and low and no alcohol products, as well as looking at wine production rules.

One of the priorities was to maintaining the Excise Movement Control System (EMCS) that would help minimise disruption at ports, but the WSTA said the government can make trading even easier by using the latest technology. It argues that in the future the current electronic trading system used to track movements of alcohol to and from the EU electronically, which minimises checks at borders, could be extended in scope to include all imports and exports from the point of production through to retail.


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