UK food and drink exports to EU and outside rise to record level

Environment secretary Michael Gove, who described UK food and drink sales rises as a "Brexit bonus".

Environment secretary Michael Gove, who described UK food and drink sales rises as a "Brexit bonus". Picture: ANDREW HENDRY - Credit: Andrew Hendry Photographer

The Irish Republic, France, the US, Netherlands and Germany were the top five export markets for UK food and drink last year, according to government figures.

Record exports of more than £22bn included a 61% rise in sales of milk and cream, a 23% increase in salmon sales and a 14% boost for pork.

The top export destination was the Irish Republic (£3.7bn), followed by France (£2.3bn), USA (£2.3bn) Netherlands (£1.5bn) and Germany (£1.4bn).

Whisky was by far the chief export (£4.5bn), followed by salmon (£720m), chocolate (£680m), cheese (£623m), beer (£603m) and shellfish (£600m).

Environment secretary Michael Gove described the rise as “a Brexit bonus”.

“Contrary to the constant negativity of the doom-mongers, the British economy is going from strength to strength showing that a Green Brexit can deliver for the whole country,” he said.

Gin sales reached more than £500m in 2017.

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The UK also sent £8m worth of cheese to France, £21m of chocolate to Belgium and £2m of tea to China.

Food and drink exports rose by £2bn in 2017 – an 8% increase. Exports to EU countries saw an 8% rise to £13.3bn in 2017, while non-EU were worth £8.7bn, a 7% increase.

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