David Richardson (DR), Regulatory & Commercial Affairs Director at the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA)

Exclusive interview with David Richardson WSTA

We’re delighted this month that David Richardson (DR), Regulatory & Commercial Affairs Director at the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has kindly given his time to share some insight with us (Chris Porter – CP) following the success of the campaign to revert the introduction of VI1 certificates for wine imports.

CP “David, thank you so much for your time today and once again congratulations on your successful campaign to avert the threat of the introduction of VI1 from Europe and the consequent withdrawal of it’s need for inclusion on New World import orders.

Away from this headline, tell us what’s next with the Association’s initiatives, lobbying and campaigning on behalf of your members and the UK drinks industry

 DR “Our response to the government’s Alcohol Duty Review is ongoing. This is key because it is looking at the whole way that excise duty is levied. It is especially important given the additional post Brexit administration costs which have been borne by our Trade this year”

CP “We know there’s a government consultation in progress on a Deposit Return Scheme to encourage the recycling of bottles. Are the WSTA contributing to the discussion ?”

DR ”Yes, we are monitoring proposals closely in Scotland and in England and Wales and will be commenting of this as the impact and implications of DRS becomes clearer”

CP “Obviously, there have been many challenges and changes brought about by the increased level of post-Brexit administration and associated additional costs for importers. Whilst the battle of the VI1 has been won, what more can the WSTA do to win the war of the increased beaurocratic burden and to help importers?

DR “The WSTA are contributing to discussion with HMRC to understand the planned initiatives to modernise customs and excise processes. We will continue to follow developments closely by raising individual issues and identifying anomalies wherever we can, such as the import licence requirement for certain ethanol commodity codes. We have and are already contributing to discussions about trade simplifications and innovations in further free trade agreements. We are also participating in discussions surrounding innovative technology solutions to streamline international trade”

CP” With specific regard to the challenges facing freight forwarders, the WSTA has its own internal WSTA Logistics Group, consisting of individual members who are each specialist freight forwarders to the drinks industry.  What are the top priorities for the Group when they next meet?”

DR “Gathering and sharing information about the challenges facing the wines and spirits sectors in moving goods, including offering support to other trade associations, such as the Road Haulage Association (RHA). Also working to understand and disseminate information about trade with NI including the tariff and excise duty consequences for B2C parcels.  Informing members about changes to border processes, particularly as staged controls come to an end and actively contributing to the UK’s Border 2025 strategy is also high on the agenda”

CP “It’s clear from this conversation that the WSTA is committed to addressing the issues and challenging proposals that will have an impact in our business lives and commercial activity in the coming years. Some might say the risks involved with importing wine into the UK in 2021 are greater than ever. What would you say to them?

DR “The WSTA will be here to advise our members on how to build resilient business so that they are best placed to be aware of what might be coming down the track and are not blind-sided by any unforeseen changes. We will continue to monitor fraud trends and the threat posed by counterfeit goods as well.”

CP “David Richardson, thank you so much for your time and speaking with Kukla News”

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