Wine industry toasts Brexit deal for cutting red tape
The UK wine industry has welcomed aspects of the Brexit deal, which it says will cut red tape for traders.
There had been fears that the UK's departure from the EU would mean an expensive VI-1 certificate was required for wine imports and exports after 31 December.
The Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA) has estimated that this would cost around £330 per form for each lot of wine, meaning prices could potentially rise as a result.
Instead this has been replaced with a simplified import certificate, which means there will be no need to complete VI-1 forms for EU-produced wine coming into the UK and English and Welsh wines sent to the EU.
"Tucked away in the annexes to the agreement, there is good news for the wine sector and the UK's 33 million wine drinkers," said Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA.
"This is a good first step towards abolishing unnecessary and costly red tape. This is not only good news for UK wine businesses but also UK consumers, who won't see wine prices rocket."
However, UK traders will still have to complete the costly VI-1 forms when importing wine from outside the EU and sending it on to Northern Ireland or the EU, which means importers of bottles from countries such as Australia and the US will face costly regulations.
Beale said: "Businesses are still waiting on the UK government to confirm the details necessary to complete the paperwork.
"With less than a week to go before businesses shipping wine to the EU will need to complete these forms, it is simply unacceptable that they are still in the dark about the forms and processes required."
Around 55% of the wine imported to the UK is from the EU, according to the WSTA.
Beale added: "The government could deliver one further bit of good news by cutting wine duty at the spring budget, helping cash-strapped consumers and allowing businesses hit hard by the pandemic to recover."