UK Food Exports Enjoy Steady Rise

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has confirmed a rise in exports by 8.5% to £10.2bn in the first half of 2017.

The Positives

Exports of Salmon have upped by 53% in value, to a value of £408m, becoming the second highest export under Whiskey, and just above beer and chocolate.

With the Sterling’s fall against the US Dollar and Euro, food exports have become noticeably cheaper, leading to a massive rise in demand, with the top 10 food and drink exports ranging from Whiskey and Salmon, to Beer and Soft Drinks.

During the first half of 2017, UK food and drink exports grew exponentially faster to EU countries, as much as 9%, than to countries outside the EU, which saw growths of 7.6%.

Andy Bing, sales director of Loch Duart Salmon in North West Scotland, has stated “We’ve sold more than we ever have,” in reference to exports in the first half, also adding that the firm’s primary export markets were France, America, Italy and Switzerland. In particular, UK salmon exports have grown dramatically after Chilean producers suffered incidents in 2015 related to algal blooms killing high numbers of fish.


Possible Drawbacks?

Ireland and France currently maintain statuses as the two highest importers of UK food and drink; though the FDF expressed concerns over the possible consequences of a poor Brexit deal.

An FDF Spokesman stated that: “Food and drink would face significantly higher tariffs than most other products,” this being if no deal is made, and World Trade Organization tariffs with the EU are enforced. Such tariffs could include a hefty 157% on some fruit and vegetables, and importers being required to pay 152% tariffs for some drink exports.

Conversely,  the free market think tank, the Institute for Economic Affairs, claimed a failure to strike a deal between the UK and EU post-brexit would not be disastrous. IEA research director Jamie Whyte stated: “We could unilaterally eliminate all import tariffs, which would give us most of the benefits of trade and export to the EU under the umbrella of the WTO rules.”

With a high rise in exports, has the Sterling’s small wound post-referendum turned out to have mutual benefits? And more to the point, would failure to strike a good Brexit deal really be disastrous on UK exports? While a good deal is certainly preferable, perhaps the EU’s blatant scaremongering has far less foundation than ever thought possible.

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