South West food and drink producers supplied products that were included in a hamper of British-made goods presented by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to his Australian counterpart to mark a historic new trade deal between the two countries.
Mr Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison were pictured at an event exchanging branded food products from their respective countries held shortly after the deal was announced.
Mr Johnson described the new trading arrangement, the first the UK has negotiated since leaving the European Union, as “good news” for British car manufacturers, financial services and the agricultural sectors in both countries.
British food and drink products such as biscuits and Scotch whiskey are set to be cheaper to sell under the tariff-free agreement.
Mr Johnson said that the 15-year deal would include “safeguards” including a cap on tariff-free imports to ensure British farmers are not undercut as well as adhere to the “strongest possible standards” for animal welfare.
The hamper presented at the photo opportunity was put together by Bristol-based chamber of commerce Business West. The organisation is delivering an initiative called the Great British Food programme on behalf of the Department for Work and Trade.
The scheme aims to support UK food and drink producers to engage with international buyers across the world with events, workshops, and an online directory.
James Monk, director of commercial services at Business West said: “UK food and drink companies are recognised for their quality across the world and The Great British Food Programme is a way for these businesses to showcase their products to overseas customers.
“The total value of goods exported from the South West to Australia in 2020 amounted to 238m, accounting for 5.9% of total exports to the market, showing the strong existing demand.
“We will be working with businesses to help grow exports even further and I would encourage food and drink firms big and small to sign up to the Great British Food Programme to help them grow their international business in a lucrative market.”
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The hamper featured food products from across the UK, including McVities Penguin biscuit bars, as well as South West businesses participating in the programme, including Cornish tea producer Tregothnan and Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, based in Christchurch, Dorset.
Greg Springer, commercial director of Tregothnan, said: “Tregothnan has been pleased and proud to be a part of the Great British Food Programme as it has helped showcase our English grown tea to markets across the globe
“It is never too early (or too late) to think about export. As soon as you have a product you are happy to sell online, or to put in a shop in the next town over – you are ready to export.
“The Great British Food Programme makes it easy for export to become a core part of your business, whether you just need a nudge and some guidance or even if you just want to sense check your ideas about a target market.”
Jim Cregan, Co-founder of Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, added: “The Great British food programme has helped Jimmy’s Iced Coffee identify new markets to export product to.
“I have learned that unless you get yourself out there, you won’t have a chance to succeed at all. It’s for this reason that I’d recommend them as they provide the best platform to succeed.”