import export international trade

For the past six years, I’ve been working in the world of food and drink export sales, helping brands build their sales abroad. It’s incredibly exciting to see the power of the British brand overseas.

Despite the complexities often associated with export, there’s a huge amount of opportunity beyond our shores with the right commitment. It’s therefore excellent to hear the news of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

It means more than 99% of UK goods exported to CPTPP member countries will be eligible for zero tariffs, including food and drink products like cheese, chocolate, gin and whisky.

Easing the administrative and commercial trade barriers with CPTPP countries will allow so many talented and passionate UK producers to tell their story on a worldwide scale, whilst also enabling brands to diversify their commercial risk, drive growth and boost employment.

The agreement spans a vast free trade area of 11 countries spanning Indo-Pacific. The bloc is home to more than 500 million people and will be worth 15% of global GDP once the UK joins. According to government estimates, joining will boost the UK economy by £1.8bn in the long run.

At Belvoir Farm, we export 20% of our turnover around the world  –  a big volume of which is our signature Belvoir Farm Elderflower Cordial and sparkling drink, made from elderflowers hand-picked here in the Vale of Belvoir.

One-third of our exports currently go to Indo-Pacific markets, including Australia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, China and South Korea. The latter two are brand-new Belvoir Farm partners and our bottles will hit shelves in May 2023. The news of the CPTPP deal is timely as it gives a very positive collaborative lens to our discussions with potential partners in other new markets like Thailand, Indonesia, India and the Philippines, amongst many others.

I often get asked for advice for potential exporters, and the number one task is to research the opportunity well. It’s vital to understand the commercial value chain and compliance requirements for your target markets – from your recipe through to your label.

Also, speak to like-minded brands who might be able to help with some of your initial questions. Always do your due diligence with potential import partners, but most importantly, visit the market to see with your own eyes “who is doing what, at what price, with which importer”.

Finally, lean on the valuable support offered by the British government, including the Department for Business & Trade, the Food & Drink Exporters Association and your local Chamber of Commerce.

This is a fantastic opportunity to grow British brands, especially in this year when the spotlight is on the UK.