Wednesday, September 22, 2021

UK mulls wine imports on US wines

Millions of bottles of Britain’s most popular wines could disappear from supermarket shelves and pubs after the Government proposed a 25% tariff on all wine imports from the United States.

Wine from the US make up around one in ten bottles sold in the UK market, including best-selling rosés, with more than 100 million bottles sold in supermarkets and off licences last year.

Trade Secretary Liz Truss is considering introducing a 25% tariff on US wine imports as part of an ongoing trade conflict caused by Donald Trump imposing a 25% tariff on US steel imports in 2018.

The UK Government believes tariffs on wine will put pressure on key Democratic politicians, such as Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who have wine producers in their states.

However, Wine Drinkers UK (WDUK) a collection of wine lovers, makers and sellers, has warned some of Britain’s most popular grapes, including Zinfandel Rosé and Grenache Rosé, could disappear if tariffs are imposed.

With around 32% of UK households purchasing wine from the US, no other wine producing nation could substitute its volume, limiting consumer choice. The under 44s make up 40% of those that enjoy wines from the United States, meaning that a tariff would disproportionately impact younger UK wine consumers.

WDUK supporter Ed Baker, Managing Director of one of the UK’s largest bottling plants, Kingsland Drinks, warns: “It is likely if the Government introduces this tariff, it will make these popular US wines unfeasible in the UK. Simply put, they will disappear from supermarket shelves and pubs.”

A YouGov survey conducted for WDUK found that one in three (32%) of UK adults who drink alcohol say wine is their favourite alcoholic drink, beating beer (25%) and spirits (25%) into second and third place respectively. However, since 2010, duty on wine has increased significantly more (+39%) than on beer (+16%), cider (+27%) and spirits (+27%).

Ed Baker adds: “Wine drinkers are already disproportionally disadvantaged compared to some of their alcoholic counterparts when it comes to custom tariffs. Adding a 25% tariff on US wines will continue to unfairly penalise these consumers. It is time that the Government ensures that wine is treated fairly when it comes to tax.”

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