The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has criticised the UK government’s plans to introduce red tape on wine, as the move could generate more than 600,000 additional forms, costing wine businesses £70m.

WSTA said that the government is reportedly considering backtracking an agreement announced earlier this year after a meeting between the trade group and government officials.

At the meeting, WSTA discussed with Whitehall officials, explaining a trebling in paperwork to import and export wine from the UK to EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

At that time, officials agreed to suspend paperwork on wine imports for nine months until a sensible solution is in place, in case the UK exits the EU without a deal.

If the government goes ahead with its plans, WSTA said that it would lead to an increase in the prices of the wine, as well as reduce choice for customers.

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “The government’s failure to honour commitments to suspend the VI-1 forms is a real blow for the UK wine industry.

“The additional form filling and laboratory tests required for a no-deal scenario will add a massive burden on exporters and importers alike. Wine inspectors will find themselves drowning in paperwork and consignments are going to be held up by unnecessary additional red tape.”

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The trade body estimates that in the event of no-deal Brexit, they would require 500,000 new import certificates, called VI-1 forms, to keep the wine arriving from Europe. Furthermore, all certificates would need to be accompanied by lab analysis.

WSTA said that each form would cost approximately £20. The lab tests will cost more than £300 a time.

On the other hand, wine exported to the EU from the UK will also have to complete the VI-1 form, resulting in approximately an additional 150,000 forms.

Beale added: “We can only conclude from this that Government doesn’t understand the value of the UK wine industry nor the value of imports in general to the UK economy. Imports are worth roughly the same as exports to the UK economy.”

In February, WSTA warned that the wine industry might have to spend an additional £70m for import / export documentation if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.