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WSTA at FIVS conference
Published:  05 October, 2016

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association met with international partners in Canada, last week, as part of the FIVS Ottawa meetings for talks on developing post-Brexit trade agreements.

The association says drinks experts from across the globe assembled last Thurs (Sept 29) for a three-day conference. Discussions included the impact on the global wine trade when the UK leaves the EU and how to minimise disruption to established trade flows and maximise opportunities.

Hosted by FIVS, the conference agreed to press ahead with developing model trade agreements for wine, which can then be incorporated into formal pacts between governments.

The conference came to a close on Saturday on the eve of the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May’s announcement that Article 50 will be triggered by the end of March 2017.

The WSTA and its international partners believe developing these model agreements will help government achieve the right deal.

Currently the UK has individual trading arrangements with countries outside the EU, which in most cases, both sides believe can be improved upon.

European affairs director, Simon Stannard, who represented the WSTA at the conference said: “It is vital that the industry is on the front foot when it comes to preparing new free trade deals with third countries post Brexit.

“The FIVS conference in Ottawa showed us how much support there is globally for a united industry approach to mutually beneficial trade deals.

“While the UK Government cannot formally enter into discussions with countries outside the EU while still in the EU, there is nothing stopping industry, and that’s precisely what we’re doing.

“We have agreed to work together to develop a model agreement to ensure that Brexit does not disrupt the trade flow of wine and spirits in and out of the UK and looking to remove some of the restrictions the EU currently imposes on imported wines,” said Stannard.

The UK is the second biggest importer of wine by volume and value in the world.

Britain is also by far the biggest exporter of spirits in the world. More than 25% of the world’s spirits exports come from the UK.

Gin is the second largest traded UK spirit after whisky with the USA and Canada coming top of the export destinations outside of the EU last year.

FIVS is an international federation serving trade associations and companies in the alcohol beverage industry from around the world. It provides a forum for its members to work collaboratively on legal and policy issues and communicates federation views to national governments and international organisations.

FIVS president Greg Hodson said: “The UK is an incredibly important market in the international trade of alcohol beverages. FIVS brings together some of the key participants in this global trade, and we’re committed to working with our UK colleagues to ensure Brexit results in improved trade and investment.”