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UK New Zealand trade deal may benefit wine drinkers

News that a deal has been agreed between the UK and New Zealand following Brexit has been welcomed by leading wine trade bodies from both countries.

UK fans of New Zealand wines may benefit from the two countries’ newly announced trade deal, according to officials.

Full details haven’t been disclosed, but the UK government said it would remove tariffs and other ‘barriers to trade’ on a range of New Zealand goods.

‘High-quality New Zealand products loved by British consumers, from Sauvignon Blanc wine to Manuka honey and kiwi fruits, could be cheaper to buy,’ said the government.

It’s the latest chapter of the UK’s efforts to reach new trade deals with countries around the world after leaving the European Union.

Provisional ‘continuity’ deals had been signed with several countries prior to Brexit, to essentially mirror existing EU arrangements, but the UK has been negotiating more formal trade agreements.

‘It’s great to see the UK government reach ‘agreement in principle’ with New Zealand for a Free Trade Agreement,’ said Miles Beale, CEO of the UK’s Wine & Spirit Trade Association.

‘New Zealand wine supports thousands of jobs right across the supply chain in the UK, from bottling all the way to hospitality and retail,’ he said, adding that ‘New Zealand wine is the sixth largest wine category by value and growing’, in the UK.

‘We look forward to seeing the final details of what has been agreed but commend both nations on this significant progress.’

Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers, said, ‘The agreement is very positive for the New Zealand wine industry. We understand the agreement will mean significant progress for wine, including a specific wine annex.

‘This will help remove technical barriers to trade and minimise burdens from certification and labelling requirements.’

He added, ‘The UK is New Zealand’s second largest export market for wine, with exports valued at over $400 million over the past 12 months. The agreement will reduce trade barriers and remove tariffs on New Zealand wine exports to the UK, which will make a big difference for many within our industry.’

However, there are several factors that can influence the price and availability of particular wines.

While the UK is a major market for New Zealand wine, recent reports have raised concerns about a shortage of Sauvignon Blanc following a smaller-than-usual harvest and rising global demand.

In the immediate term, all eyes in the UK wine trade will also be on chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget announcement next week, on 27 October.

There have been unconfirmed reports of a tax change that could offer some benefits to English sparkling wine.

Yet the WSTA has also warned of alcohol prices hitting an all-time high this Christmas, partly due to higher inflation, and has reiterated its call for a duty tax freeze, as reported by Decanter.com earlier this week.

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