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SA wine exports: UK cuts red tape, but financial impact could be minimal


A change of regulations regarding wine imports to the UK will likely have no real impact on South African exporters as such. This according to Maryna Calow, communications manager of Wosa, which markets SA’s wine exports.

“The only true impact we will see is that there is a reduction of red tape when exporting wine to our largest export market, the UK,” Calow said on Monday.

The UK government on Sunday said it pledges to cut red tape for wine importers to that country. Once implemented, the change will remove the requirement for VI-1 certificates on all imports of wine into the UK, which means substantial savings for consumers and businesses. The VI-1 certificates add about 10 pence to every bottle of wine imported to the UK.

According to South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), the UK government has not yet provided any information regarding timelines for introducing the new legislation. Additional agreements and procedures still need to be formulated with regards to sending wine imported into the UK to the EU, according to the department.

“The status for the moment … remains unchanged with all wine imports into the UK requiring a VI-1 certificate,” it said.

Michael Alberts, an online wines systems analyst, says it is unclear what additional controls will be put in place to control the flow of imports and exports.

“If they just drop the VI-1, then there would be a cost saving for the industry. The current cost is R60 per VI-1. Should the UK, however, require a Certificate of Origin from the Cape Chamber of Commerce, the costs would climb as that document [costs] more than the VI-1,” said Alberts.

He cannot foresee that the UK will allow products to come into its market without any documentation.

“[The UK] would be the only country in the world allowing this. We will have to wait and see what ‘new’ requirement they will introduce,” said Alberts.

According to Tshepo Morokong, economist of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, the post-Brexit removal of red tape on wine exports to the UK will boost the wine industry.

“Coupled with the good rains received in the Western Cape and the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, it will contribute to the recovery of the sector. The foreign earnings through exports will also contribute to the fiscus and create job opportunities,” commented Morokong.

“Trade facilitation through improvement of port efficiencies, improved information flow and investment in infrastructure will enhance the smooth flow of supply chains.” – news24

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