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The trade imperative

A recent deal secured between Bodnant, a Welsh food centre and Trader Joe’s in the US highlights two things: the continued viewing of British based dairy as a quality product, and the importance of building bridges between countries for exports. Despite this news, it is important to remember where our priorities should continue to lie. Dairy UK’s Judith Bryans reminds us that 80 per cent of the UK’s exports head to the EU, and it continues to be an important source of labour for the industry.

No matter how you stand on Brexit, it is important to remember this. Hopefully clarification is beginning to occur, as British prime minister Theresa May seems to have shaken off her holiday inertia, has made a speech on Brexit and she’s off to the US this week to meet with the new US president.

Interestingly, May also just released a more international, interventionist industrial strategy, but it remains to be seen how much money the government will put behind the venture and whether or not food and drink will be top of the list for skills development, upgrading infrastructure and cultivating world-leading sectors. These are just a few of the items on the list the government released. Driving growth across the whole country is also one area where dairy could benefit, as it not a particularly London-centric industry.

Another issue that is looming is the one of climate change. Cutting carbon emissions for the developed countries is a challenge that will be seen across the board by 2030, and there is a worry that dairy herds may need decreasing if means are not found to tackle this, or that production may move to countries with less stringent climate controls.

Challenges are all around and it’s freezing in a lot of Europe this week. Try and stay warm!

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