The Food & Drink Exporters Association (FDEA) welcomes the Government initiative launched by Minister Graham Stuart today to support many of the UK food and drink exporters that we work with.
We particularly welcome the appointment of an Agri Food Counsellor serving the UAE and the Gulf to be based in Dubai. It is the role of Government to ensure that markets are open to business for UK companies. Locally based experts who can develop relationships with both regulatory and commercial interests must deliver real benefits and create opportunities to build exports.
Whilst developing sales in the Gulf is important, our members still regard reaching an agreement on future trade with the EU, which accounts for almost 60% of Food & Drink exports, as the highest priority for Government. Industry and Government must continue to work together to maintain and build export markets.
Full Text of Government announcement below:
- Package of measures designed to boost trade and investment and help industry recover from impact of coronavirus
- Ministers believe it will help trigger an ‘export bounce back’
- Designed partly to help businesses capitalise on opportunities that will be opened up by new trade agreements with Japan, US, Australia and New Zealand
A ‘bounce back’ plan of trade measures for the agriculture, food and drink industry has been announced today to help support businesses that have been impacted by coronavirus.
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.
As the UK’s largest manufacturing industry, and a key part of the UK’s food supply chain, which contributed a staggering £121 billion to the UK economy in 2018 and supports around 4 million jobs, agriculture food and drink is a major contributor to the UK economy. In 2019, UK food, feed and drink exports were worth £23.7bn – up 4.9% from 2018.
The measures will support producers, manufacturers and agri-tech companies right through the food supply chain, from farm to fork, and has been developed with input from trade associations, businesses and DIT’s regional and international networks.
The UK agriculture food and drink industry has been significantly impacted by Coronavirus during these unprecedented times. Industry have done well to adapt but we understand there have been huge pressures and the Government is committed to support the industry through this period and beyond. To address this, the roadmap includes a new programme of physical and virtual events, an overseas virtual buyer trial, a ‘Smart Distance Selling Process’, and a package of ‘Ready to Trade’ Exporting Masterclass webinars and virtual events.
Leveraging DIT’s existing E-exporting Programme, the measures include the launch of a new SME E-commerce Accelerator Pilot to increase the level of international e-commerce backing for SME’s in the food and drink industry.
The plan will also see the introduction of Defra’s first ever Agri-food Counsellor serving the Gulf, supporting our food and drink industry and representing the interests of UK businesses already exporting to the region, as well as those looking to export there for the first time.
The 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, and announced the first UK Tariff in almost 50 years, the UK Global Tariff, that 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.
The full range of measures announced today include:
1. Launch of a GREAT DIT Food & Drink Exporting Masterclass, an extensive and bespoke programme of webinars to be produced in conjunction with trade associations, UK regions, including Devolved Administrations, and DIT’s international network, all supported by DIT’s Export Specialists.
2. Launch of Food & Drink SME E-commerce Accelerator Pilot to leverage DIT’s E-exporting Programme to increase the level of international e-commerce support for food and drink SMEs, including agri-tech. This will include the offer of one-to-one e-commerce export clinics with the programme’s e-commerce specialists and regional advisers, a new series of industry webinars and podcasts focussed on highlighting the opportunities available to export through e-marketplaces internationally, as well as virtual workshops on internationalising their websites for those companies selling direct to consumers in various markets around the world.
3. Promote 50 Food and Drink Export Champions to stimulate aspiring exporters, while utilising ITA specialist networks focused on agri-food.
4. Announce the first Defra Agri-food Counsellor serving the UAE and wider Gulf Region, with the role focussing on supporting our food and drink sector and representing the interests of UK businesses already exporting to the area, as well as those looking to export for the first time. The new Defra-funded Regional Agri-Food Counsellor will be based in Dubai and will work alongside DIT’s existing sector leads in the UAE, providing specialist knowledge and engagement in Government to Government discussions on behalf of UK interests and sectors. She will also support food and drink promotion activity at the UK pavilion at World Expo in 2021, identifying opportunities for new markets and further developing existing export relationships.
5. Launch of a programme of physical and virtual events, using innovative, interactive software to connect buyers, promote the UK and reach international markets. This will include: an overseas virtual buyer trial working directly with chosen US buyers through a virtual delivery programme; and developing a UK ‘Smart Distance Selling Process’, which includes the dispatch of food and drink samples to buyers.
6. LeveragingDefra’s Food is GREAT campaign, which will extend into the UAE and the EU later this year, to provide impactful and targeted activity in priority export markets, such as USA, China and Japan. This also will be complemented by new agri-food creative imagery within DIT’s GREAT Ready to Trade campaign when this resumes in the summer, under the Food is GREAT and Invest in GREAT pillars.
7. Two Virtual Investor Roundtables chaired by Lord Grimstone, Minister for Investment, with agri-food and drink, and agri-tech companies to inform the development of the UK’s investment strategy, the UK Agri-Tech International Strategy and the launch of Phase 2 of the High Potential Opportunity Programme.
8. Uplift of UK Export Finance’s “Exporters’ Edge” campaign to further outreach and engagement to identify and respond to the needs of the industry and raise awareness of how UKEF and Trade Finance can help the businesses win and fulfil export contracts. UKEF is also accelerating the development of its products to allow a wider range of UK exporters to access its support. Its enhanced offer will provide easier access to working capital for UK exporters by offering financing that is not tied to specific export contracts but instead supports general business activities.