PROSPER MAGAZINE: DIGITAL EDITION
‘BOUNCE BACK’ PLAN FOR AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND DRINK INDUSTRY LAUNCHED
The new strategic interventions jointly announced by the Department for International Trade (DIT) and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will offer immediate support to help businesses in the industry grow their trade activity overseas.
The agriculture, food and drink industry are the UK’s largest manufacturing industry and plays a vital role in the UK’s food supply chain, which contributed £121 billion to the UK economy in 2018 – supporting around 4 million jobs. In 2019, UK food, feed and drink exports were worth £23.7bn – up 4.9% from 2018.
The measures introduced will support producers, manufacturers and agri-tech companies across the food supply chain, from farm to fork, and has been developed with insight from the devolved administrations, trade associations, businesses and DIT’s regional and international networks.
The UK agriculture, food and drink industry has been significantly impacted by Coronavirus.
Although it has done well to adapt, exports have been hit and the Government is committed to supporting this most important of industries get back into international markets and start growing market share once again.
The ‘bounce back’ plan will introduce a new programme of physical and virtual events that have been tailored to help a variety of businesses and exporters. These include an overseas virtual buyer trial, a ‘Smart Distance Selling Process’, and a package of ‘Ready to Trade’ Exporting Masterclass webinars.
Leveraging DIT’s existing E-exporting Programme, a new SME E-commerce Accelerator Pilot to increase the level of international e-commerce backing for SMEs in the food and drink industry is also being launched.
The plan will also see the introduction of Defra’s first Agri-food Counsellor serving the Gulf. In this new role, they will support the UK’s food and drink industry and represent the interests of UK businesses already exporting, or planning to export, to the region.
These measures are being announced as part of a programme of support for the agriculture, food and drink industry to ensure they benefit from new trade and investment opportunities - including future free trade agreements (FTAs).
Over the last two months, the Department for International Trade has launched the first round of talks for the US, Japan and Australia and New Zealand Free Trade Agreement negotiations.
Additionally, the department has announced the first UK Tariff in almost 50 years, the UK Global Tariff, which firmly backs British industry, including agri-food and drink. In 2019 the UK exported £2.4bn of food and drink to the US, £312m to Japan, £453m to Australia and £58m to New Zealand.
Minister for Export, Graham Stuart MP, DIT said, “The package of measures we have announced will support ‘bounce back’ in exports, and help our world-class producers and manufacturers increase trade with the rest of the world.
It will also get the industry ready to capitalise on the opportunities that are being opened up by the series of free trade agreements that my department is negotiating around the world.”
DIT is hosting a range of webinars with teams overseas to help local businesses secure new international business – including sessions focused on the food and drink sector. You can sign up for free at events.great.gov.uk/wmwebinars