We’ve also just seen a major boost to British-made food and drink exporters in the last year - an industry that has been going from strength to strength. On this sunny bank holiday weekend, many of us will be soaking up the sunshine with a made-in-the-UK gin and tonic or craft beer in hand, and British sausages sizzling on the barbeque. But it’s not just the Brits who have a taste for our great home grown food and drink. There is demand for the ‘best of British’ produce all around the world, and its growing.
Take gin. Always one of Britain’s best-selling drinks, the spirit is now leaving our nation’s ports in bigger quantities than ever before with more than £614 million worth exported last year. And our new stats show that sales around the world of the great British sausage have gone up a tasty 34 percent to £41 million.
It’s businesses like the award-winning family-owned Wicks Manor, who are benefiting from the increase in international demand for UK sausages. Famed for their premium pork products, the Maldon-based outfit has found international success across Asia, and now see a quarter of all their pork shipped to destinations across the world.
As Trade Secretary, it is my ambition to ensure that Britain becomes a global leader in trade liberalisation, opening up markets around the world for British businesses to sell their goods in to.
And in the past five years, since I made my public pledge to open up more pork markets around the world, we have seen great progress.
Look at British pork exports to China. They have gone up 74 percent to £43.6 million in less than half a decade, creating jobs in our rural communities and bringing home the bacon for producers. This is the kind of difference I want to see for all of our great British industries and this is what my Department – the Department for International Trade - will be working tireless to unlock over the months and years ahead.
We are starting from a strong position. Britain is now one of the only countries in the world allowed to send live langoustines into China giving Northern Ireland and Scotland a boost worth up to £26.5 million over five years.
We now sell Welsh lamb to India - Wales’ most famous export - and have also seen Japan welcome in British lamb and beef which will be worth the tidy sum of £127 million over the first five years.
China has lifted its two-decades long ban on UK beef exports which will support 1,500 jobs in the UK. And Taiwan has opened its market to British pork for the first time. Both these agreements add up to be worth over £300 million in the first five years alone.
We are creating millions upon millions of pounds of economic opportunity for every part of the UK and we will continue to build on this, striking new free trade agreements with like-minded countries across the world.
Trade is not an abstract concept. It is people’s lives and livelihoods. It’s the farmer’s herd, the fisherman’s catch and the brewer’s batch. It’s what this country is all about. It’s what this country is best at.
The competition for customers on the world stage is heating up. And Britain needs to get ready to trade like never before.
We are leaving the EU on October 31st no ifs, no buts. And when we do, there will be a whole new world for us to explore. The term “golden opportunity” is bandied around a lot, but this really is one.
Britannia will be unleashed. Set free from the EU straightjacket, we will make a beeline for the world fastest growing markets and lay the groundwork for our businesses and producers to do what they do best – make world-class products, offer the best expertise and advice and sell to the world.
And this Government will be supporting British business on this new venture.
We have around 240 International Trade Advisers based across the UK, there to help advise businesses as they step out into the world.
We have set up grants to get sellers to trade shows and bring over delegations of international buyers so businesses can meet potential customers face-to-face.
Our international team has over 1000 people based in markets around the world promoting what Britain has to offer every single day.
Research shows that international consumers are prepared to pay up to 22 percent more for British goods. It’s a matter of basic economics. The demand for “made in Britain” is out there. All we have to do is come up with the goods to supply.
This is an incredibly exciting moment for Britain. Businesses will have the opportunity to sell into those important new markets and our creative potential will be unlocked.
That is how trade works. Government unleashing industry, giving enterprising, innovative business the freedom to take Britain to the next level so we can seize the golden opportunity in front of us.