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WSTA webinar to offer indies “essential” advice on 1 January trading preparations

Published:  26 November, 2020

Fine wine and independent merchants are being invited to attend a free ‘Essential Preparations for 1 January Trading’ webinar hosted by the Wine & Spirit Association (WSTA) on 2 December.

The session, which compliments a drive to encourage more quality merchants to join the WSTA, is designed to advise on the “multitude of issues” that will affect indie businesses “both directly and indirectly” as the UK moves out from the Brexit transition period.

Hosted by WSTA chair and Bibendum CEO Michael Saunders, Berry Bros chair Lizzy Rudd and WSTA Fine Wine member James Miles, MD of Liv-Ex, the session will cover the “many recent policy and legislative developments that all fine wine and independent merchants need to be aware of”, while assessing how these changes will impact UK wine businesses.

Speaking to Harpers, Saunders stressed that the impact of border and process changes will be far reaching, affecting not just those that directly import and export wines to and from the EU, but also those indies that buy much of their portfolio through UK wholesalers and agents.

Saunders added that the impact on the UK’s role as a hub of global fine wine trading was also of particular concern.

On the agenda will be the importing and exporting to the EU and North Ireland, the temporary suspension of VI-1 forms and tariffs on wines and spirits, including the prospect of a ‘no deal’.

In a letter to independent and fine wine merchants earlier this month, jointly signed by WSTA CEO Miles Beale and the above members, the campaigning body set out the challenges facing the sector post-transition, urging merchants to join.

“[We] are writing today to warn you about the next storm. From our contact with colleagues, suppliers and customers we believe that too few – if any – in the UK wine industry are ready for the new trading environment that 2021 will bring; and that SMEs are particularly at risk.”

Speaking with Harpers on 25 November, with time running short for a deal to be agreed, Beale elaborated on what is at stake.

“If there’s a deal, you would expect it to be tariff-free, quota-free trade with the EU,” he said.

“In which case, there wouldn’t be tariffs at all. Full stop. Of course, it’s not just about moving goods. It’s about exchange of information – it’s about various protocols and a recognition of each other’s systems. We know we’re going to get disruption. We signed up for that when [the nation said it] wanted borders at the edge of the UK. But if there’s a deal, it will be simpler.”

With just over a month to go until the end of Brexit transition, negotiations are once again running up to the wire.  

To register for the free WSTA ‘Essential Preparations for 1 January Trading’ webinar, taking place at 9.30am on 2 December, click here.