Government announces new agri-food and drink export support in US, Asia and Middle East markets

Wed 1 Dec 2021
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

The government will add eight new agri-food and drink attachés in priority markets, to boost UK exports in these sectors.

Attachés are based in UK embassies and consulates have long-standing expertise in the agri-food and drink sector.

As well as posts in China, USA, India, Canada and Mexico, the attachés will be covering growth markets in the Gulf, Africa, South America and the Asia-Pacific region. There will also be additional capacity and resource for the key market of Europe, the government reports.

‘Boots on the ground’

Writing in the Times, trade minister, Anne Marie-Trevelyan said the new support would provide “boots on the ground” to support food and drink firms in priority export markets around the world.

“The industry has asked for our more specialist insight and expertise to unlock key markets – and we have listened,” she said.

The new attaches are in addition to other support for businesses on their export journey, including the Export Support Service, Export Champions, the expanded Export Academy and a range of digital tools, she added.

Going to market

Food and drink exports were worth £21.7bn in 2020. He government wants to increase overall exports by British firms to £1 trillion by 2030 and has launched a 12-part strategy and a campaign ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ to help achieve the goal.

The government heralded the new support with a food and drink market at Downing Street yesterday featuring a selection of British producers including Wilkins jams, Loch Fyne Oysters, and Montezuma’s chocolate.

Farming UK reports that figures show overall sales of UK food and drink are down £2bn compared to pre-Covid levels, due mainly to the sharp drop in sales to the EU.

Figures by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) reveal UK exports to the bloc had fallen more than a quarter since 2019 due to the pandemic and new Brexit arrangements.

Despite this, sales to non-EU countries were up 13%, accounting for 47% (£4.3bn) of all UK food and drink exports in the first half of 2021.

Eustice concerned

As trade talks with India are due to begin in the new year, City AM reports that environment secretary George Eustice has voiced concern of what India will want to close a deal.

DEFRA is reportedly concerned about how India’s food safety standards and demands for slashed tariffs will affect UK producers.

Eustice previously waded into a similar row over the Australian FTA with then trade minister Liz Truss, which PM Boris Johnson settled by coming down on the side of Truss.