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Wine tariffs to remain after Brexit transition period ends

Published:  19 May, 2020

Tariffs will remain in place on wines imported into the UK after the current Brexit transition period ends.

The government has published the UK’s new tariff regime, to replace the EU Common External Tariff from 1 January 2021, revealing that calls by the trade to reduce or drop tariffs on imported wines have gone unheaded.

This comes at a time when there is growing concern over the shape of future trade relations with the EU and the impact an increasingly likely less-than-favourable trade deal (or worse yet, no deal) will have on a sector already impacted by the gathering pandemic-induced recession.

“It’s disappointing that the Government has ignored the UK’s world leading wine industry and chosen to keep wine tariffs when the transition period ends on 31 December,” said WSTA chief executive Miles Beale.

“This runs counter to the government’s narrative that its new UKGT [UK Global Tariffs] takes a ‘common sense approach’, gets rid of nuisance tariffs or reducing administrative burdens. It will not increase choice for consumers, but instead will add an unnecessary barrier to trade.”

The WSTA had already been leading calls for government to remove costs and administrative burden on UK drinks trade businesses in the run up to Brexit and the end of transition, with the onslaught of Covid-19 and subsequent growing economic crisis adding a critical urgency to such calls.

“This news just adds to a long list of worries. Government needs to start listening to - and acting upon – suggestions from UK businesses, including taking action now to remove burden and costs on UK businesses and allow them to be more competitive to aid the UK’s economic recovery,” Beale added.