WSTA calls for temporary wine tariffs suspension

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association is calling for clarity from Government on its post no deal tariff plans, warning that any no deal Brexit will see wine prices hit an all-time high.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit the association says that a temporary suspension on all wine tariffs for 6-12 months would massively reduce the strain on the supply chain that a no deal Brexit will inevitably bring about.  It argues that there would be minimal impact to Treasury coffers and probably cost much less than having to introduce a system for collection of tariffs on products that currently enter the UK tariff free.

Currently an average priced bottle of still wine costs £5.73. If the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal tariffs on EU wines alongside a planned duty increase on 1 February would add an extra 20p to the price of a bottle.

Miles Beale chief executive of the association said: “Since the Referendum, the WSTA has campaigned consistently for a deal with the EU that delivers frictionless trade in goods, with no additional tariffs or costs.

“If the UK ends up with a no-deal Brexit then wine businesses will have to cope with additional tariffs as well as another duty rise – which is highly likely to end up full square in the consumer’s lap, bumping up wine prices to an all-time high.

“We are calling on government to clarify their tariff plans now and – in the event of a no deal Brexit – to commit temporarily to imposing no tariffs on wines for at least 6 months. This would be a pragmatic solution with any loses to the Treasury covered by not having to implement a costly new system. It also leaves intact government’s ability to remove tariffs on wine permanently – but as part of a future free trade deal.”