UK China dairy deal ‘important for Northern Ireland (NI)’

INTERNATIONAL TRADE SECRETARY Liam Fox has said an agreement for UK dairy in China could benefit NI dairy producers. The deal, which is valued at almost £240m over five years, was secured in China recently.

China approves imports of dairy products made in the UK, such as milk powder, cream and yoghurt. The agreement means that Chinese dairy processors can use milk from third countries like the Republic of Ireland. Lakeland Dairies in Northern Ireland is likely to be the main beneficiary of this deal.

Lakeland sources a significant proportion of its milk from the Republic of Ireland. A spokesperson for the company said it welcomed any trade agreements which enhance the possibility of further export growth towards China.

Northern Ireland has high potential to supply good quality dairy products to meet increasing demand for dairy worldwide.

Dairy is one of the fastest growing areas of food demand in China. They are increasingly looking to the UK. The government has a duty to prepare contingency plans in the event of a no-deal. China is the UK’s fifth largest trading partner, with exports growing by 28.5% in 2017 when compared with the previous year.