UK spirits exports to China grow 35%

12th December, 2019 by Nicola Carruthers

UK exports of spirits to China have risen by 35% to £78 million (US$102m) in the year to date, according to a new report.


UK food and drink exports to China witnessed a “significant increase” in Q3

According to figures released by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), exports of UK food and drink increased by 6.3% to £17.4 billion (US$22.9bn) in the year to date, and by 8.3% to £6.2bn (US$8.1bn) during the 2019 third quarter.

The growth of food and drink exports from the UK in Q3 was boosted by sales to non-EU countries (13.1%) – more than twice the figure of exports to the UK (5.3%).

The FDF said that the first nine months of the year showed a “positive performance”, once again led by whisky as the UK’s most significant export.

For the year-to-date, whisky reached £3.7bn (US$4.8bn), an increase of 7.8% by volume.

It was followed by salmon, chocolate, and cheese, while gin took the fifth spot at £515.2m (US$678.5m) – a volume growth of 13.8%.

Wine followed gin, dropping 15.6% by volume to £497.9m (US$655.7m). Beer was the ninth most significant export at £363.7m (US$479m), growing 2.7% by volume.

The UK’s top three export destinations were Ireland (-3.2%), the US (+14.3%) and France (+6.6%).

Food and drink exports to the UK’s seventh largest trading partner, China, have witnessed a “significant increase” since Q3 2018, rising by £64.6m (US$85m). This is the largest value increase in more than two decades and was mainly driven by the “strong” performance of spirits, beer, meat, fish and dairy.

The FDF also said that Japan was a “significant” importer of whisky. Together, whisky and salmon exports from the UK to Japan rose 33.3% over the year to date.

‘Great resilience’

Gavin Darby, president of the FDF, said: “This is the fourth consecutive year of food and drink export growth in Q3.

“While the overall value of UK exports across all industries has declined year-to-date, food and drink has shown great resilience to buck that trend, delivering growth of 6.3% on 2018 already.

“Although sales of branded goods to the EU have declined, encouragingly our sales to non-EU countries has increased by over 9% so far in 2019.

“At the same time, there remains significant untapped growth potential for UK food and drink exports. If we are to build on recent successes, the next government must ensure we have a dedicated future trade policy for food and drink which recognises our industry’s unique ability to deliver jobs and growth in every UK community. They should also co-invest in the FDF’s proposals for a genuinely business-led approach to specialist exports support.”

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