The government has announced a new set of trade measures for the food and drink industry to support businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19.
The package of measures aims to support producers and manufacturers across the whole of the food supply chain, from farm to fork, to grow their trade activity overseas.
Businesses will be able to access a new programme of physical and virtual events tailored to the sector, including an overseas ‘virtual buyer trial’, a ‘smart distance selling process’ and a number of ‘ready to trade’ exporting masterclass webinars.
A new ‘SME E-commerce Accelerator Pilot’ will also be launched to increase the level of international e-commerce backing for SMEs in the sector. This will include the offer of one-to-one e-commerce export clinics with specialists, as well as a series of webinars and podcasts focusing on export opportunities and how to ‘internationalise’ websites.
The package has been jointly developed by the Department for International Trade and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as part of measures to support the industry to benefit from new trade and investment opportunities, including future free trade agreements (FTAs). FTA talks are already underway with the US, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. UK food and drink exports to these countries totalled £3.2 billion in 2019.
Graham Stuart, Minister for Export at the Department for International Trade, said:
“More trade is absolutely critical to helping the UK’s agriculture, food and drink industry recover from the impact of coronavirus.
“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.”