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‘Fantastic outcome’ as UK government scraps Brexit red tape wine forms

The British wine industry could save up to £130 million a year after the UK Government removed the requirement for costly and time-consuming forms for all wine imports.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) said the decision to do away with VI-1 certificates for all imports of wine into Great Britain was ‘a truly historic moment’ for the wine trade and ‘a fantastic outcome’.

The trade body had spent more than two years campaigning against what it called ‘unnecessary red tape’, warning that the forms – plus the need for lab tests on wine – would bring European Union wine imports to a standstill following the UK’s exit from the trading bloc.

It estimated the potential cost to the industry at £70m – but said the decision to scrap import certificates for all overseas wine (not just those from the EU) would bring savings of about £100m – a figure which the government put at ‘up to £130m’.

‘This is a truly historic moment for the UK’s world-leading wine trade,’ said Miles Beale, WSTA chief executive.

‘We have spent more than two years campaigning relentlessly to avoid the introduction of new import certificates for EU wine imports on the one hand, and scrapping the unnecessary and costly VI-1 wine paperwork for non-EU wine imports on the other. It’s a truly fantastic outcome.’

The UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) quoted industry analysis suggesting that VI-1 forms added 10p to the cost of every bottle of imported wine, describing it as ‘a significant burden’ on the wine trade.

‘Great Britain is already a global hub in the international wine trade, supporting many jobs across the country,’ said Food and Drink Minister Victoria Prentis.

‘Ending the requirement for import certificates will strengthen this position and is a clear benefit of now having the freedom to determine our own rules.’

James Miles, chairman, managing director and co-founder of London-based global wine marketplace Liv-ex, said: ‘I cannot overstate how important today’s announcement is to the UK wine industry.

‘By removing these unnecessary and costly non-tariff barriers to trade, [the Government] has re-set our trading arrangements with the rest of the world in a way that will enhance the UK’s leading position in the global wine trade.’

According to the WSTA, 99% of wine consumed in the UK is imported, 55% of it coming from EU nations.

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