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UK wine industry faces big bill and paperwork hell in no-deal Brexit

Published:  27 February, 2019

A no-deal Brexit will generate over 600,000 additional forms costing the wine industry £70 million, according to the WSTA.

It says a raft of “new forms and laboratory test demands” will force UK wine businesses to “jump through hoops” to import wine into the UK and that “concerned officials from Whitehall” are holding “emergency meetings” to discuss how to cope with the onslaught, which is set to “treble their work load overnight”.

It also warns that the additional costs, when added to the wine duty hikes enforced by the Chancellor earlier this month, as well as the introduction of wine tariffs and rising inflation, will mean UK wine consumers face a “budget busting rise” in prices.

And it predicts the subsequent pressure on small wine producers is likely to be “too great” and in some cases wine supplies from smaller vineyards into the UK are expected to stop.

“The additional form filling and laboratory tests required for a no deal scenario will come as a real blow to exporters and importers alike,” said Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA. “Wine inspectors will find themselves drowning in paperwork and - unless they can double their workforce - wine consignments are going to be held up by unnecessary additional red tape. The reality is that if we leave the EU without a deal wine businesses, big and small, will be facing a catalogue of extra costs which will ultimately be passed onto the British consumer.”

Some 55% of wine consumed in the UK is imported from the EU. The WSTA has been advising members for over a year that they should increase their stock by 20% to ward off the negative impact of a no-deal Brexit.

This month the WSTA repeated it’s call for a temporary suspension on all wine tariffs until the end of 2020 in the event of a no deal to ease the pressure on the supply chain.

It also called on the Government to “urgently” review the proposed import rules, including documentation, and to seek agreement from the EU to have continued access to the EU’s Excise Movement Control System (EMCS) which tracks alcohol coming in and going out of the country electronically, with no extra checks or costs.