Letter to the Gibraltar Chronicle re: new Spanish restriction on the importation of wine bottled in Gibraltar
Once again, the Spanish government, with practiced aim, has shot itself squarely in the foot. I refer to the restriction placed on Gibraltarian exports of bottled wines, timed to coincide with the opening of the new bottling plant in Gibraltar. While I could bemoan the fact that this is exactly the kind of economic sabotage we expect from Spain, it does actually work in our favour.
Someone has obviously neglected to explain to Spanish Foreign Ministry that, these days, typically 80+% of the retail price of a product is for its distribution. Now what country's long-haul distribution firms would have been best placed to provide that distribution? (There's not a lot of call for a Gibraltarian long-haul lorry service.)
As it is, the 10 million bottles a month will have to be shipped by boat or air, which means increased airport or port revenue, and probably by local shipping companies. Hmm... 80% of 10 million bottles a month, retailing at, say £5 each on average...£480 million a year. Some of that would have doubtless gone to the Spanish government in import duty and VAT. So this restriction, apart from denying us official access to the most obvious export market, is actually of benefit to us, seeing as the intended markets are actually Eastern Europe and Africa.