The so-called ‘bounce back’ plan will provide ‘unprecedented help’ for SMEs designed to allow them to capitalise on new trade agreements being negotiated by the Department for International Trade (DIT) with Japan, the US, Australia and New Zealand.
The strategic interventions were jointly announced by DIT and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) this morning (22 June). The departments said they will offer ‘immediate support’ to help businesses in the industry grow their trade activity overseas.
“More trade is absolutely critical to helping the UK’s agriculture, food and drink industry recover from the impact of coronavirus,” DIT Minister for Export Graham Stuart said.
“The package of measures we have announced today 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.”
Trade talks, food standards and COVID-19
The agriculture, food and drink sector is the UK’s largest manufacturing industry. It contributed £121bn 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.
According to figures from the UK Food and Drink Federation, in 2019 the European Union was the UK’s largest export market for food and drink products, accounting for 59.9% of sales or an export value of £14.2bn.