The UK and Chile have signed a deal to ensure preferential trading after Brexit, in a move that the wine trade hopes will preserve imports of Chilean wines.
A spokesperson for the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) said today (31 January) that it ‘welcome[s] the signing of the UK Government’s continuity trade agreement with Chile’.
The agreement could be especially important if the UK leaves the European Union in March this year without a deal.
‘It is imperative for the UK wine industry that trade with Chile remains undisrupted,’ the WSTA said.
‘In the last 12 months UK consumers bought the equivalent of 105 million bottles of Chilean wine with sales worth some £720 million. That amounts to about 9% of the total UK still wine sales by volume and 8% by value.’
The WSTA said the agreement would help consumers save money in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
‘Without this agreement, tariffs added to wine from Chile coming to the UK would cost industry an estimated £9.2 million.’
The deal will come into effect as soon as the implementation period ends in January 2021, or on 29 March 2019 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Currently, a no-deal Brexit is the default position, unless parliament can agree on a way forward in the next few weeks – and one that is also acceptable to the EU.
The WSTA has been campaigning for a suspension on wine tariffs if there is a no-deal Brexit.
‘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,’ said Miles Beale, CEO of the WSTA.
Currently there are no tariffs on wines from the EU, Chile and South Africa, but a no-deal Brexit could cost UK wine importing businesses over £100 million a year, according to the WSTA.
Some wine retailers have been ‘stockpiling’ wine ahead of the UK leaving the EU, due to be on 29th March 2019.