Philip Cox and the post-Brexit trade restrictions: "We want to try and stop them"

Owner of Romanian-based winery Cramele Recas plans legal action against EU.

Owner of Romanian-based Cramele Recas plans legal action against EU.
Owner of Romanian-based Cramele Recas plans legal action against EU.

Philip Cox, owner of the Romania's largest winery Cramele Recas plans a legal complaint against the EU. In a statement, the winery owner sent to MEININGER’s Wine Business International, he explains that he sees “a number of problems caused by the EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), and also by the UK government’s decision to apply much more bureaucracy than most other non-EU states.”

From July 1st on, importers to the UK are supposed to fill out additional paperwork for their wines to enter the country. Cox says “our problem with these certificates s not that they are complicated to complete, but that many of them are needed and that they introduce a large volume of additional work – for a market which is already very complicated to sell to, with tight margins, and which has become significantly more complicated since Jan 1st.”

He further stresses that “the new certificates have 8 pieces of information on them – company addresses, alcohol, volume, color of wine etc. – all of which information is already contained on other documents that are already used for each delivery such as invoices and customs declarations. One certificate is required for every type of wine, for every single delivery (entry into the UK). If you have 50 types of wine on a truck you need to fill in 50 certificates.

Even for large companies it is a problem and very time consuming to issue these forms and, in particular, it’s a problem for EU wineries selling to the larger UK retail chains many of which use European logistics operators to bring the wine to the UK.

Most of these logistic operators are in Belgium and Netherlands and they collect wines from all over the EU, sort and store them and then reship them to the retailer’s individual warehouses. So if we send one truck with 3 types of wine for Aldi UK, it goes to Belgium, gets split up into 10 different loads for each of the Aldi UK warehouses and if our shipment has 3 wines that means we have to issue 30 certificates.”

Cox says that he is already in contact with other wineries and associations in Italy, Spain, France and “a specialised law firm in Paris about making a class action legal action against the TCA agreement in the national courts and the European Court of Justice to eliminate these wine certificates before they are introduced. Our motivation is simple: the certificates have absolutely no purpose or useful purpose and we believe that in EU law it is obligatory for all administrative burdens placed onto companies by the EU authorities to have a clear and useful purpose.

The wine certificates do not guarantee anything about the wine as they are completed by producers, they do not contain any information which is not available on the normal commercial documentation sent with any wine shipment to the UK, and indeed all EU wine which has DOP, IGP or varietal status is already certified in much more detail – so we do not see absolutely any reason for these new certificates, and we want to try and stop them.”

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