Growing demand for beer and ale in China has led to a British barley trade deal worth up to £100 million for UK farmers, Environment Secretary Liz Truss announced today (November 11).
This new landmark trade deal could lead to about 750,000 tonnes of British grain being exported to Chinese breweries over the next five years.
Welcoming the new agreement during a visit to microbrewery The Brew in Shanghai, Mrs Truss said: "British beer has a worldwide reputation and we have had huge successes selling more than a billion pints of our quality lager and stout around the world, building a stronger economy for the UK.
"I want to make sure British businesses seize the vast opportunities available in China, the world’s biggest food and drink market."
As well as the Chinese using UK barley to produce beer, they have also developed a growing liking to the beverage with £15 million worth of British beer exported to China last year, an 186 per cent increase since 2013.
Barley is also used for animal feed in China and is the latest in a long line of new markets negotiated by the UK Government.
Jane King, chief executive of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) helped secure the deal as part of Defra.
She said: “This deal represents a vast amount of work by AHDB and its partners and a huge opportunity for farmers in the UK.
"Our staff have worked very hard on levy payers’ behalf to get this protocol off the ground, and we look forward to seeing companies making the most of this new market access.”
Linking with fast-growing economies like China is a vital part of the Government’s long-term plan, helping UK companies to benefit from China’s vast and varied markets.
With a population of 1.3 billion, China is now the world’s largest food and drink market. More than £280 million worth of British food and drink was exported in 2014, up from £136 million just two years earlier.