Brexit minister begins talks with the WSTA to discuss how to manage leaving the EU
The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) met with Brexit minister David Jones last week to discuss how the industry can protect trade and the 600,000 of jobs currently supporting the UK wines and spirits industry.
This marks the first time the Department for Exiting the EU and the WSTA has met to discuss the issues surrounding Brexit which impact on the industry, including movement of skilled workers, terms of trade and opportunities to increase the sector’s competitiveness in future.
“The UK’s wine and spirit trade makes a significant contribution to the UK economy - employing hundreds of thousands of people - and we are determined that the industry continues to flourish after we leave the EU,” David Jones, minister of state at the Department for Exiting the EU said.
“It was great to meet with WSTA to hear their views on the upcoming challenges and opportunities, and this continued business engagement is vital if we are to get the best deal for Britain.”
This marks a step in the right direction for the WSTA, as chief executive Miles Beale previously stressed the importance of the government working with the trade body to ensure that the industry proposers once the UK leaves the EU.
The meeting was followed by the WSTA Brexit seminar on November 3, when the WSTA’s Brexit-themed working groups were launched, having been announced in September.
The working groups cover three key areas: International Trade, Exiting the EU and Customs, Logistics and Movement.
The WSTA also shared its latest discussions with members and other international wine and spirit trade bodies with the Brexit minister, as well as its plans to develop model trade agreements.
“For a genuinely global industry like wine and spirits, Brexit will bring both challenges and opportunities,” Beale said.
“We want to ensure that industry is on the front foot to help government to prepare the best possible case for uninterrupted trade with the EU, and the best possible platform for bilateral trade deals with priority countries.
“The proximity of our meeting with David Jones and our own Brexit seminar means we give our members an informed update on how government thinking is developing and how a key minister sees the next phase unfolding.
“We also had the opportunity to remind David Jones of the size and contribution made by the wine and spirit industry, which brings in £45.5bn to the UK economy and provides nearly 600,000 jobs.”
The UK wine and spirit industry is central to the global drinks trade.
According to the WSTA, 75% of all global gin exports by volume are British gin and is the second biggest importer of wine by volume (behind Germany) and value (behind USA) worldwide.
The WSTA will be publishing its detailed Brexit-policy position paper later this month.