The UK government has announced that it will deploy eight new attachés to promote trade and boost exports in key agri-food and drink markets overseas.

The measures, unveiled yesterday, aim to build on the UK’s growing food and drink export market, which was worth £21.7 billion in 2020. 

Last year, the US purchased £1.8 billion worth of UK food and drink exports, and the UAE purchased £257 million.

Under plans outlined by the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the eight attachés will be dispatched to China, the US, India, Canada, and Mexico, and will also monitor growth markets in the Gulf states, Africa, South America, and Asia-Pacific.

DIT and DEFRA will also add additional capacity and resources in Europe, as the UK’s key export market for food and drink.

According to a UK government statement, existing attachés in China and the UAE have been “pivotal” in securing access for a greater range of products, driving export growth, and building mutually supportive relationships with trading partners.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, secretary of state for international trade, said: “From Scottish salmon and Welsh Lamb, to Northern Irish beef and English sparkling wine, our food and drink is recognised at home and abroad for its great taste and high quality.

“My department is supporting UK businesses on their export journey. From our Export Support Service to Export Champions, we want businesses all over the UK to have the tools to take advantage of the ambitious trade deals we are signing with countries across the world.”

The new attachés will be based at UK embassies and consulates overseas, and will be selected based on their expertise and experience in the agri-food and drink sector.

Through their presence in priority markets, they will aim to reduce and remove trade barriers, broaden market access, and support UK companies as they increase their market share in established and emerging international markets.

George Eustice, secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, said: “We want people at home and abroad to be lining up to buy British.

“The support announced today will enable our farmers and food and drink producers to take advantage of new opportunities and fly the flag for UK produce around the world.”

The announcement follows the launch of DIT’s ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ campaign last month, which saw a range of measures to support UK businesses in their exporting journey and deliver on the aim of exporting £1 trillion worth of goods and services by 2030.

The new measures also coincide with the UK Trade and Export Finance Forum 2021, which takes place today in London, England, organised by UK Export Finance (UKEF) – the UK government’s export credit agency (ECA).