WSTA backs EU Remain campaign

13 May, 2016

Leaving the EU would lead to a more uncertain trading environment, loss of access to the single market and the absence of a UK voice at the table to shape EU regulation by which the industry would still be bound, according to the WSTA chief executive. 

Speaking at the Gin Guild Ginposium yesterday, Miles Beale said: “If people vote yes we might simply be treated as a third country, in which case, UK products would be liable to EU customs duties, local excise duties and the movement of goods into the EU would be curtailed. That is certain.

“What the overall cost and impact of that is, we can’t quantify and quite frankly, no one can. The best case would be that we retained access to the free trade area using existing mechanisms but those would be mechanisms that would be subject to change over which we would have zero input.”

For large companies with a presence in the UK market, Beale said it might not matter terribly but for the growing number of fledgling new gin producers would find themselves bound by rules over which they have no control.

Beale said it is still unclear whether the European commission would be able to introduce revisions to the framework regulation of gin. He said definitions are unlikely to be opened up but Brexit would “entirely remove the UK to influence the outcome” and “we would not be at the table to argue in response to change”.

He concluded: “The UK wine and spirits trade will be better off if we remain in the EU. The bottom line is that EU regulation is more good than it is bad for producers of gin. On 23rd June we face the prospect of waking up having got rid of the good [regulation] and keeping only the bad.” 

Keywords: WSTA, miles beale, Brexit

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