Drinks industry ‘takes bull by the horns’ on Brexit

19th October, 2017 by Michael J Ritchie

European wine and spirit representatives have joined forces to send a position paper to Brexit negotiators with the aim of minimising disruption to trade flow.

The spirits industries of the EU and UK want to minimise disruption to trade flow post-Brexit

Currently, €2.3 billon of UK wine and spirits products are exported to the EU every year, and €2.9bn of European wine and spirits is imported into Britain.

As such, wine and spirits trade bodies is calling for an “early adoption of transitional rules” to reduce disruption to trade flow.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), spiritsEUROPE, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) and Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins (CEEV) are behind the position paper, which is believed to be the first of its kind.

The WSTA suggested that it was “up to the industry” to get key issues resolved long before the Article 50 deadline and seek to gain political support from both the UK and EU.

Chief executive of the WSTA Miles Beale said: “Both the European Council and the British prime minister have emphasised the need for the EU27 and UK to remain close partners in the future. There is little sign of any progress being made to ensure this happens which has led the WSTA and trade bodies throughout Europe to take the bull by the horns and publish a position paper to protect our shared wine and spirits industry.

“The trade bodies outline 46 existing spirit categories, including many that are deeply rooted in European culture and tradition, like whisky and vodka, and around 240 registered GIs that offer protection to Cognac, Scotch whisky and Irish whiskey.”

The paper communicates that it is the united position of wine and spirit producers across Europe that ‘no deal’ is an unacceptable outcome from negotiations.

Jean-Marie Barillère, president of the CEEV, added: “Continuity and legal protection for wines and spirits in the UK and EU27 must be secured and this should include early and mutual recognition of PDO/PGI wines and GI spirit drinks”.

Ireland’s drinks industry last month also created a five-point “Brexit plan” to protect Irish drinks and tourism post-Brexit.

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