Promoting UK Agriculture Exports

International Trade – in the House of Commons on 18th June 2020.

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Photo of Peter Aldous Peter Aldous Conservative, Waveney

What steps she is taking to promote UK agriculture exports.

Photo of Graham Stuart Graham Stuart Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)

Our food and drink sector is vital to our economy. In 2019, exports increased by nearly 5% to £23.7 billion. We want to see that success continue and will shortly be launching a bounce back strategy for the industry as the world recovers from covid-19.

Photo of Peter Aldous Peter Aldous Conservative, Waveney

I am grateful for that answer. I draw your attention, Mr Speaker, to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. There are significant opportunities to increase agricultural exports, but for the UK to make the most of them, there is a need to dramatically increase food and drink processing capacity. What discussions has my hon. Friend’s Department had with the Treasury, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, so as to ensure that the right fiscal and grant arrangements are in place?

Photo of Graham Stuart Graham Stuart Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)

My hon. Friend is right to raise that important issue. My Department is working closely with DEFRA, BEIS and Her Majesty’s Treasury to understand the market and investment trends in the agriculture and food processing sector in a post-covid environment. The Department for International Trade’s high potential opportunity—HPO—programme, which is part of our levelling-up agenda, is already attracting investment in food and drink programmes throughout the UK. For instance, there is agricultural engineering in Telford and aquaculture in Dorset. However, we want to do more, which is why, in partnership across Government and as part of our forthcoming export strategy, we will work to identify new investment opportunities in the sector and its supply chain, so that UK agriculture’s full potential can be realised internationally.