EU wine bodies rally around vital UK wine market post Brexit
As the UK triggers Article 50 that sets in motion its formal exit from the EU, major European wine bodies have rallied around to show their support for the UK wine industry and insist they will do all they can to ensure it continues to be a key market for major Europe wine producing countries well in to the future.
Jean Marie Barillère, president of Comite Europeen des Entreprises Vins (CEEV) said it was vital the European wine nations did all it can to help the UK and ensure its trade borders remain open in a way that suits all parties once the UK leaves the EU.
He said: “EU wines and UK consumers have had a special relationship for centuries and shall continue to have it despite Brexit. With EU wines representing about 55% of UK wine imports, there is no doubt that the UK market is of utmost importance for EU wine producers, and that the British really appreciate European wines. Ensuring smooth wine trade flows is important to both the EU and the UK economies.”
Ignacio Sánchez Recarte, secretary general of CEEV added: “The overall objective of the CEEV is to ensure that there will be no disruption of wine trade flows between the United Kingdom and the EU-27. To allow business and administrations to adapt to the new system of trade relations – a future EU-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) – it will be fundamental that leaders on both side of the Channel agree on a transitional period and on a FTA in a time frame that will reduce uncertainty as much as possible.”
Meanwhile Miles Beale, chief executive of the UK’s major wine body, the Wine & Spirit Trade Association said: “The triggering of Article 50 signifies an historic moment as the UK begins a new journey. For our trade, this chapter will bring both challenges and opportunities. The WSTA will be working tirelessly to achieve our key aims: continued, tariff-free movement of wines and spirits to and from the EU, new, tariff-free trade agreements with priority countries outside the EU and equally safe passage of goods without extra checks at borders once we have left the Customs Union.”
He added: “A phased leaving process will allow time to establish an EU free trade agreement and to put in place the necessary systems and infrastructure. Failure to do so, risks disruption to supply chains, chaos at UK ports, increases in costs for UK businesses and ultimately even higher prices for consumers.
“We stand together with our European Trade Association partners in our joint ambition to secure free trade flows. We have repeatedly said to government since the referendum that the only way to achieve its aim for a frictionless Brexit is for the government and industry to work in partnership.”