MPs launch probe into impact of wine import certification on business

A group of MPs has launched an enquiry into the impact of wine import certification on UK businesses.

Cargo containers with European Union and British flags reflecting Brexit and restrictions in export and import

The Wine and Spirit All-Party Parliamentary Group will use its platform to begin a probe into the effect of rolling over the legislation verbatim on EU wine coming into the UK.

More than half (55%) of wine consumed in the UK is imported from the EU, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

Wine coming into the UK from Europe is not currently subject to extensive checks and lab tests, but this is due to change next year.

Some countries, including Australia and the US, have simplified versions of VI-1 forms, which allow wine to be imported into the UK.

The WSTA has previously said the forms work out at around £330 each, with one needed for every product line. Global marketplace for the wine trade, Liv-ex, estimates it would have to produce as many as 65,000.

The WSTA has repeatedly called on the government to abolish VI-1 forms and simplify import and export requirements. Miles Beale, the trade body’s CEO, has described the procedures as “completely impractical”, particularly when submitting products for lab testing.

Certification rules will change on 1 January 2021, as all wine imported from Europe will be subject to VI-1s.

Beale said that politicians “need to better understand this issue, which if it isn’t handled properly, will see the UK’s world leading wine industry facing a catastrophic disruption to trade.”

The WSTA estimates the new regulation will cost the UK wine trade an extra £70 million per year, causing wine prices to rise.

Neil Coyle, MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark and the co-chair of the APPG for Wines and Spirits said failing to listen to the wine industry’s concerns “will lead to price rises for importers, retailers and ultimately consumers, and could threaten the UK’s position as the global hub for wine.”

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