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Overseas opportunities ahead for brewers

On 17/07/13

Yesterday saw the launch of the latest stage of the UK Government’s attempts to boost UK exports - the ‘GREAT weeks’ programme.

The initiative is specifically aimed at the ‘service’ sector, covering food & drink, retail, luxury and the creative industries. It aims to build on the success of the Olympics in 2012 and further use the GREAT brand to highlight British goods and services. The event was opened with the Great Britain Delivers film, demonstrating how the Olympics were delivered using the skills and products available within the UK.

Building upon the current services offered by UKTI, ‘GREAT weeks’ will see a major Government-led and funded trade mission to a series of target markets. Key markets identified for food & drink are Japan, Russia, Hong Kong, Macau and China. Further details of these missions are available on the ‘GREAT weeks’ website.

The keynote address was given by Trade Minister Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint who stressed the Government’s focus on exports as part of the development of ‘a new growth model for the economy’. He pointed out that Britain has been losing out on trade for the last 40-50 years, with trade deficits in almost every one of these years. Other speakers included Sir John Sorrell and the Managing Director of Harrod’s, Michael Ward, who both expounded the value of ‘brand Britain’.

The UK also has very low market shares in the emerging nations, places that are likely to demonstrate strong growth in the years to come. British small businesses also continue to be underrepresented in foreign markets. The Government aims to double UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020, with an additional 100,000 extra companies selling overseas. With these ambitious targets the Government realises it needs to offer UK businesses significant support to build a profile overseas.

All of this offers UK brewers an excellent opportunity to look overseas. There is an already substantial volume of British beer being exported, at nearly 6.5 million hectolitres in 2012. The ‘GREAT weeks’ campaign will offer greater scope for brewers to access emerging markets and start sending beer to these countries. Specific support from UKTI will be given through invitations to VIP events, structured programmes by sector, briefings prior to and during missions and bespoke one-to-one speed dating events.

As part of the wider support on offer the BBPA continue to work with UKTI on the development of an export strategy and additional resources to help boost British beer exports. Hopefully before too long you’ll be able to buy quality British beer in any country you choose for your summer holiday. And the burgeoning middle classes of the emerging countries will choose British beer as their tipple of choice, encouraging them to come and visit our GREAT British pubs.


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