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CLARA MOSCHINI

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Brexit, the wine sector in alarm

The prospect of tariffs is frightening

Prosecco and Pinot Grigio, mostly produced in Veneto, which together with the other Italian sparkling wines in addition to the Piedmontese and Sicilian PDOs represent 60% (and the equivalent of almost 500 million euros) of Italian wine exports to the UK.

“There is still hope to avert the no deal, because our negotiators are working every hour to find an agreement that would be in the interest of both sides. At the same time we must admit that it will be very difficult”, the British Ambassador to Rome, Jill Morris, said yesterday during a webinar of Unione Italiana Vini (UIV). At the focus dedicated to the post-Brexit scenarios in the wine sector, also an analysis by the UIV Observatory on the market of the second buyer in the world with 4.4 billion dollars of purchases from abroad last year. According to the wine association which represents 85% of the export turnover of the sector, there is an unprecedented impasse on a strategic market which however becomes vital for some important denominations.

This is the case of Prosecco and Pinot grigio, mostly produced in Veneto, which together with the other Italian sparkling wines in addition to the Piedmontese and Sicilian PDOs represent 60% (and the equivalent of almost 500 million euros) of exports of Italian wines in Uk. In particular, sparkling wines are the type most affected by potential duties and bureaucracy in the first country to buy bubbles in the Belpaese with 2 Italian bottles imported out of 3, which represent over half of the overseas tricolor sales (400 million euros). In (partial) relief to a commercial scenario strongly conditioned by uncertainty, Uiv confirmed some "buffer measures" by the UK government to avoid the leap in the dark, in particular with respect to labeling (no changes until October 2022), new certifications ( VI-1 suspended until June 2021), the full protection of geographical indications already recognized in the EU and the rules on organic (mutual recognition for the whole of 2021).

On the other hand, the possible application of duties on 1 January is frightening: "It is paradoxical - said the UIV Secretary General, Paolo Castelletti - to think of a scenario in which companies export at zero duty to Japan and 32 euros per hectolitre on wines sparkling wines at a customs post across the Channel ". Finally, according to what was said at the Uiv webinar by the general secretary of the Comité européen entreprises vins (Ceev), Ignacio Sanchez, "A third scenario between the deal and the no deal could be an extension of the current status quo under a temporary regime until a possible agreement ". The meeting was attended, among others, by the president of Unione Italiana Vini, Ernesto Abbona, the director of Ice London, Ferdinando Pastore, and the head of the Brexit Ice London help desk, Gabriella Migliore.

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EFA News - European Food Agency
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