Export global sales of UK food and drink reach record high as government touts success after Brexit.
Food and drink exports hit record level of £10.6 billion for the first half of 2018 – up by 4% compared to last year. US, China and Hong Kong were amongst the top countries importing British food.
Most of that demand has been bolstered by new meat export markets opening, after China lifted its BSE ban on British beef.
The press release on the gov.uk site added that smoked salmon – worth £308 million to the UK – was being snapped up from international supermarket shelves.
Food Minister, George Eustice said: “Consumers across the globe know British produce is delicious. They also know it is high in quality and backed by high standards of animal welfare. This is why we are continuing to see a huge growth in the worldwide demand for the best of what British farmers and food producers have to offer.
“This world-leading industry already boosts our economy by over £110 billion each year, and leaving the EU will give our food and drink producers an unparalleled opportunity to tap into more markets and take advantage of the UK’s position as a truly global nation.”
However, the uncertainty of future trade deals post Brexit, could end the government’s current optimism, leaving the £308 million vulnerable beyond next years leave date in March 2019.
In the Scotsman, Julie Hesketh-Laird, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation lay down the warnings for failing to strike a deal.
Julie Hesketh-Laird, said that a hard Brexit would add a tariff of around 2 per cent to fresh salmon, while any “value-added” products, such as smoked salmon and pâté, would face tariffs of 13 per cent.
Around 25 per cent of Scottish salmon exports go to the European Union.
“The issue is opportunity cost,” said Hesketh-Laird. “If you come out with no deal, it will become cheaper and more attractive for part of the processing industry to set up elsewhere.”