EU trying to ‘undo’ gains made in Brexit says Sammy Wilson
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Millions of bottles of wine are downed by Britons every week but now each one could become 13p cheaper in a major boost following Brexit. VI-1 forms – an exercise that includes lab tests to verify the acidity of the wine – are set to be scrapped, industry insiders have claimed. The requirement for imports from outside the European Union coming with the documentation is set to be abolished by Downing Street, which has also decided to scrap plans imposing the rule on wines coming from the Brussels trading bloc to the UK.
In a major boost to Brexit Britain, industry officials believe the move could save as much as £130million for consumers.
They also estimate the scrapping of this EU red tape could save the industry £100million on non-EU wines and mean costs of up to £70million on those coming from Europe will no longer have to be imposed.
The Wine and Spirit Trade Association said nearly all wine bought and consumed in the UK is imported and from that, more than half (55 percent) comes from the EU.
Miles Beale, the industry group’s chief executive, hailed the latest post-Brexit boost as a “historic moment for the UK’s world-leading wine trade”.
He warned applying the documentation to EU wines would have “reduced consumer choice and bumped up prices”.
Mr Beale beamed: “This is a truly historic moment for the UK’s world-leading wine trade.
“We have spent more than two years campaigning relentlessly to avoid the introduction of new import certificates for EU wine imports on the one hand and scrapping the unnecessary and costly VI-1 wine paperwork for non-EU wine imports on the other.
“It’s a truly fantastic outcome. This is a major win for wine lovers and the UK wine industry.
“I am sure corks will be popping across the globe in celebration of this most welcome news.”
International Trade Minister Ranil Jayawardena said the huge move on imports perfectly demonstrates the benefits available to Brexit Britain, enabling the Government to scrap red tape which inflicts huge costs on millions of people.
He added the numerous trade deals Britain is striking with countries is “making it easier for British consumers to access top-quality products from around the world”.
Mr Jayawardena said: “It’s fantastic that the British people will no longer have to pay for unnecessary bureaucracy when they buy a bottle of wine.
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“Trade is key for economic growth and levelling up the country.
“Through our trade deals, we are making it easier for British consumers to access top-quality products from around the world – including wine – and we are bringing down foreign trade barriers to open up even more opportunities for British businesses to succeed overseas.”
Victoria Hewson at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) think tank also hailed the news, and is hopeful it could lead the Government to implementing a ban on importing chilled meats.
She said: “Getting rid of bureaucracy on imports of wine is very welcome and there is lots more low-hanging fruit in the customs code and other import regulations that can be tackled.
“But we should take care that these useful steps are not outweighed by the torrent of new interventions that the Government seems to have in mind across the economy and into people’s private lives.
“Hopefully the Government is also considering the implementation of the ban on importing chilled meats which is due to come into effect this autumn.
“This is the UK version of the EU law that would prevent sausages being sent to Northern Ireland, a situation which clearly illustrates how such rules are arbitrary and punish consumers.”
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