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UK Wine and Spirit Trade Association says no deal in Brexit talks totally unacceptable

Published 20 June 2017

The UK’s Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA) has urged the new government to strike a full negotiated divorce settlement with the European Union (EU).

WSTA stated that a failed negotiation with the EU, before the deadline is totally unacceptable and it has asked the government to pull out all the stops at Brexit talks to avoid a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

The trade association is pushing for a full negotiated settlement, on the eve of the first formal face to face talks - between the UK’s Brexit Secretary David Davis and the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

WSTA, which has more than 300 members belonging to UK’s wine and spirit businesses, said they need sufficient time to prepare their businesses for post-EU trading environment.

The trade association stated that Brexit could result in decreased trade with Europe and the country will have to look towards non-EU trading partners, through new bilateral free deals with third countries, including improved terms. These terms could only be agreed once the UK has left the customs union.

WSTA claims that the UK is the world’s second largest wine importer in terms of volume and value and it is important to support the country’s wine businesses and the 277,000 UK jobs that the industry supports. And for this reason, the country must remain central to world wine trading post-Brexit.

On the other hand, the country is also the largest exporter of spirits in the world and industry provides about 296,000 UK jobs.

WSTA CEO Miles Beale said: “While there has been a great deal of speculation over recent days about what the election result means for Brexit negotiations, the WSTA’s position remains unchanged.  We have long argued for a negotiated deal, including a full ‘divorce” settlement and agreement on the terms of the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU.

“It is essential that the UK secures transitional measures allowing sufficient time for the necessary systems to be introduced and properly tested. Ideally a transition period would allow the UK to agree a Free Trade Agreement with the EU and then to make good progress on other bilateral FTAs with our major trading partners.  Such a transition would give businesses time to prepare fully for a post-EU trading environment.”

The association also stated that, in order to prepare for the worst case scenario, where all talks break down, they are talking with their members to be prepared for a post-Brexit environment.

Image: WSTA urges UK government to negotiate full terms of Brexit. Photo: Courtesy of Steve McGrath/FreeImages.com.