Europe's wine and spirit industry unites in Brexit trade talks
ESM - Feb 5th 2018, 09:08
Representatives from the wine and spirits industry across Europe and the UK met at the EU Commission this week, in a bid to move Brexit trade discussions forward.
The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), Scotch Whisky Association, spiritsEUROPE and Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins, presented points from their joint position paper, which was published last year, to Michel Barnier's taskforce.
In particular, the parties focused on the importance of reaching a negotiated settlement, with a transition period, and a new free trade deal.
“The Brexit position paper makes clear that partners in the wine and spirit trade right across Europe strongly support the UK and EU securing a comprehensive trade agreement," said Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA.
"All of us want a solution that enables us to continue to do business after Brexit and to ensure UK and EU consumers will be able to continue to enjoy the full range of products."
The WSTA says that the next step is to bring politicians onboard.
"Time is running out and the economic importance to businesses on both sides of the channel to get this right cannot be over emphasised," added Beale.
"The WSTA has, from the outset, been calling for a transition period. Frankly, we need politicians to deliver continuity for our industry, and not to indulge in politicking that risks delay or damage to our industry and its businesses – on whichever side of the Channel they reside.”
A Brexit analysis study, which was leaked this week, suggested that the UK economy will be worse off than if the country stayed in the EU.
“The contents of the leaked document, which suggest that every part of the UK economy would suffer, reinforces the urgent need for trade associations to secure future trade – and provide businesses with certainty as soon as possible,” said Beale.
The WSTA says that the UK is the world's second-largest importer of wine by both volume and value, while the EU represents a significant export market for British spirits.
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