WSTA Announce Panellists For Annual Conference

Conference marks one of the first opportunities to hear Lord Price’s views on Brexit since resigning as Minister of State for Trade Policy

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has announced a formidable panel of speakers ahead of their Annual Conference next week, joining Lord Price, who recently resigned as Trade Minister, and Tim Martin, Wetherspoon Chairman.

Panellists for the session, which will take place on Tuesday, September 12th at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, include Miriam González Durántez, Partner, Dechert LLP, Sir Simon Fraser, Managing Partner, Flint Global, and Tim Martin, Chairman, JD Wetherspoon Plc.

Each panellist will provide their own insight on the Conference’s theme this year, ‘Trading Spaces: Creative partnerships with the EU and the rest of the world’, with panel discussions led by Alex Forrest, former ITV political correspondent.

Tim Martin, one of the most outspoken business leaders on Brexit, will also take part in a one-on-one interview with Alex prior to the panel session, as will The Rt Hon Lord Price.

Lord Price’s interview at the WSTA Annual Conference marks one of the first opportunities to hear his views on Brexit since resigning as Minister of State for Trade Policy last week.

The WSTA Annual Conference will set out how the Government can deliver for the wine and spirit industry during Britain’s exit from the European Union, and will look to stimulate fresh ideas and thoughts on dealing with the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

The Conference presents a fantastic opportunity for WSTA members, potential members and guests from government associated bodies and the media to understand the successes, challenges and possible future trends associated with the industry, and tickets are still available for the conference.

WSTA Chief Executive Miles Beale said:

“We are pleased and excited to announce Miriam, Sir Simon and Tim as panellists ahead of our Annual Conference.

“It’s been a particularly turbulent 12 months, in which we’ve seen Article 50’s triggering and a snap General Election that produced a surprising result.

“Since our last Conference, we are more educated, better prepared and clearer about what we want our Government to deliver for our industry, but it’s still a time of great uncertainty.

“We know there will be challenging times ahead for our members and our aim is to work together to find the best way through which allows our industry’s historic trade flows to remain intact. But we need also to look to the future and global opportunities.”

Tim Martin is the founder and chairman of JD Wetherspoon. His father worked for brewing multinational Guinness plc and became Malaysian marketing director. Martin was educated at eleven different schools around the globe before eventually studying law and qualifying as a barrister, which he gave up to set up Wetherspoon in 1979.

From a single pub, Tim has grown the business to the UK’s largest pub chain, which has over 900 UK outlets (plus 50 hotels) and employs over 38,000 people.

Tim was one of the few top business leaders to speak out in favour of Brexit. He welcomed the result and speaks regularly about advantages he sees for the UK drinks industry.

Tim emphasises the importance of being in touch with pub culture and what people want, which is what he says makes his business successful.

Sir Simon Fraser was for five years, from 2010 to 2015, the Head of the UK Foreign Office and Diplomatic Service. He has also led the UK Department for Business.

Prior to that he served as Chief of Staff to the European Trade Commissioner in Brussels, and as Director General for European policy at the Foreign Office.

Within Flint, Simon leads on advice to clients on Brexit and international policy issues. He is Deputy Chairman of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and is a Visiting Professor at King’s College London.

Miriam González Durántez is a partner of international law firm Dechert LLP where she is co-chair of the firm’s International Trade and Government Regulation practice, focusing on international and EU trade law and policy.

Prior to joining Dechert, Miriam led the trade practice of another major international law firm. She previously served seven years as a Senior Member of the Cabinet for EU External Relations Commissioners Chris Patten and Benita Ferrero-Waldner, where she had responsibility for EU relations and trade with the Middle East, the U.S. and Latin America, as well as a FCO adviser during the UK Presidency of the European Union.