Farming News - Trade Secretary signs major deal allowing export of UK seed potatoes to China

Trade Secretary signs major deal allowing export of UK seed potatoes to China

25 Aug 2018
Frontdesk / Arable / Finance
Photo of Secretary of State, Liam Fox with Ni Yuefeng, Minister of the General Administration of Customs of China.
The Secretary of State pictured with Ni Yuefeng, Minister of the General Administration of Customs of China.

The deal is expected to bring major benefits to Scotland, with around 70% of seed potatoes exported annually from the UK coming from Scottish farms.

China’s developing taste for chips and crisps will soon be fuelled by British produce, as International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP secures a deal which enables the UK to export seed potatoes to China.

The deal is expected to bring major benefits to Scotland, with around 70% of the 100,000 tonnes of seed potatoes exported annually from the UK coming from Scottish farms. The seed potato export market is already worth an annual £90 million to the UK, with some varieties fetching up to £900 per tonne.

China is the largest global consumer of potatoes in the world. As the country’s demand for potato-based foods increases, the humble spud is now China’s fourth staple crop after rice, corn and wheat – with demand increasing at a rapid rate.

It follows news that the UK dairy sector is set to receive a multi-million pound export boost, with Dr Fox meeting with the Chinese government to reach an agreement to allow the import of UK dairy products made with milk from third countries into China.

The agreement was signed by the International Trade Secretary during his visit to China. Dr Fox is also meeting businesses and senior Chinese government ministers to discuss further trading opportunities between the 2 countries.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP said:"The rapidly-growing Chinese market offers huge potential for UK farmers. According to research by Barclays, around 60% of people in China would actually pay more for a product, just because they knew it was British.

"With China expected to have 220 cities with a population of more than a million by 2030, that is a huge market that UK potato farmers will now be able to make the most of".

Rural Economy Secretary, Scotland Fergus Ewing said:"I am delighted that Scottish seed potatoes will now be enjoyed by the biggest producers in the world, the People’s Republic of China. This is welcome news for the Scottish seed potato sector and further recognition of its global renown for producing high quality seed potatoes.

The signing of this trade agreement has the potential to lead to its expansion to the rest of the UK, opening up the possibility of market diversification and contributing towards further sustainable growth in the sector".