The UK government has announced that the introduction of VI-1 forms for importing wines from the European Union has been moved back to January 2022.
The government updated its guidance on importing and exporting yesterday to reflect the change. The wine trade had been working towards preparing for the introduction of the new forms this July.
The UK trade, spearheaded by the Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA), has been highly critical of the proposed VI-1 forms, which they say would cause “permanent” disruption to the supply chain, price hikes and limit consumer choice.
WSTA Chief Executive, Miles Beale, said the delay was a “huge relief” to the UK wine sector but added: “If we can do without these certificates for a year, then scrapping these unnecessary, EU-style rules and reducing red tape must be the right decision.
“Instead of prevaricating, Ministers should be seizing this opportunity to help boost the UK wine sector, promote free trade and get a better deal for British wine businesses and consumers. There is absolutely no reason for introducing these new certificates.”
Last month, over 50 leading retailers, importers and distributors signed a joint letter to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Farming, Fisheries and Food, Victoria Prentis MP, and all of the MPs on the International Trade Committee, warning of the “burden to trade” these forms represent.
Beale said: “What the WSTA would really like to do – as it has been asking for months now – is to work with government to scrap these certificates while ensuring sufficient traceability is maintained. Indeed, this would bring the rules for wine in line with all other alcoholic drinks products.
“It would also be an excellent first step towards abolishing all existing wine import red tape. This would ensure that Britain maintains its position as the central wine hub for the rest of the world – and would help substantiate this Government’s Global Britain ambitions.”