The APPG for Trade & Investment held a seminar and reception at the Houses of Parliament on 14 May to discuss export opportunities for the British food and drink industry.
Trade Minister, Lord Livingston, was a speaker at the event, which provided a chance to praise the success of UK exports, as well as, highlight barriers to driving growth.
Speakers included CEO and chairman of Nestlé UK and Ireland, Fiona Kendrick, Martin Hatfull, director of government relations at Diageo, Mary Quicke of Quickes Cheese, John Healey MP, chair of the APPG on EU-US Trade and Investment, Matt Ware of NFU, Miles Beale of WSTA and David Frost of SWA.
In 2013, exports grew by 5% to £12.8bn, exports to non-EU markets (+11.5%) outperformed the EU (+3%) pushing the non-EU share up by 1.3%. Including alcoholic drinks, total food and drink exports were £19.4bn, up 3.7% on 2012.
Exports of whisky, the UK’s largest food and drink export, were the same as 2012 at £4.4bn. The food and non-alcoholic drink trade balance increased by 9% to a deficit of £25bn as imports grew by 8%.
Despite growth in exports there still remains obstacles preventing businesses from taking advantage of international opportunities, including trade barriers, lack of advice on exporting, lack of dialogue between government and industry, over-complicated paper work and insufficient funding.
The event was hosted by Margot James MP and supported by the Wine and Spirit Association and the Scotch Whiskey Association.
Fiona Kendrick said: “High demand from overseas markets for British goods will play a vital role in our sector’s ability to achieve the shared goal with Government of 20 per cent sector growth by 2020.”
Lord Livingston added: “The growth of exports in the food and drink sector is crucial to decreasing the trade deficit.
“As part of our export action plan we are encouraging more UK firms to export to promote this country as a world leading destination for inward investment. UKTI will provide advice and support to allow businesses to export to foreign markets.”