Europe’s wine and spirits exporters will be able to rely on their geographical indication protections within the UK, even after the country’s departure from the European Union next year.
Under the draft UK/EU withdrawal agreement, released yesterday, GI protections would continue to be honoured by the UK. This would continue to be the case during a proposed transition period, when EU law would continue to apply in the UK until the end of 2020. These rights would cover a “geographical indication, designation of origin or traditional speciality guaranteed” and a “traditional term for wine”, according to article 54 of the proposed agreement.
The agreement contains less detailed provisions for EU GI rights held by UK companies, although these would also be guaranteed until the end of the transitional period.
Assuming the deal survives upcoming votes in the UK Parliament, EU drinks exporters to the UK would benefit from the continuation of a customs union until a “future relationship becomes applicable”. This means that the UK would keep its import duties for non-EU goods harmonised with EU rates and duty-free trades with the rest of the EU will be preserved.
Under the draft agreement, the UK would follow EU excise duty rules until at least December 2020.
The UK will quit the EU on 29 March.