Liz Truss pledges free trade boost for South West dairy producers on visit to Cornwall – Cornwall Live

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Dairy producers across the Westcountry look set to benefit from future free trade deals with the USA, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, tapping into lucrative overseas markets and providing a huge boost to the local economy.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss visited businesses in Cornwall today (September 18) to see first-hand the agricultural exporting potential of the county and also discuss future opportunities for growth, with Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly exports totalling £682 million in 2018 – £67 million of which were exports to the USA.

Her busy schedule includes a visit to the Davidstow Creamery near Camelford, owned by Saputo Dairy UK which has announced plans to launch its award-winning brand, Cathedral City, in the USA for the first time. The cheddar will continue to be made in Cornwall with milk collected from 330 local farms, before being packed and shipped across the Atlantic.

Cathedral City is manufactured at the Davidstow Creamery, near Camelford in Cornwall

Cathedral City is manufactured at the Davidstow Creamery, near Camelford in Cornwall (Image: Cathedral City)

Having gone on sale in Canada earlier this year, Cathedral City is expected to be available to buy in over 2,000 American stores by the traditional Thanksgiving Holiday in November.

Ms Truss said: “From cheddar to clotted cream, there is huge demand for authentic Cornish produce overseas and it’s fantastic to see Cathedral City cheese will soon be available in US stores.

“The trade deals that we are negotiating will create even more export opportunities for farmers in Cornwall and across Britain – boosting rural communities and local economies.”

She added: “Farmers and their high standards will be protected as part of any trade agreement we negotiate. I will not accept any deal that undermines or undercuts British farmers and makes them less competitive.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tucks into a cream tea during a visit to Rodda's Creamery in November 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tucks into a cream tea during a visit to Rodda’s Creamery in November 2019 (Image: Stefan Rousseau / PA Wire)

Ms Truss, whose Department for International Trade (DIT) recently launched the Trade and Agriculture Commission in order to protect and advance interests of consumers and industry, said free trade agreements with countries such as the USA will allow buyers to access UK produce, removing or reducing current tariffs.

Last week, the UK secured its first major free trade agreement as an independent trading nation with Japan. As part of the deal, 14 iconic South West products such as Cornish clotted cream, Exmoor Blue cheese and Westcountry beef and lamb will now be officially recognised as protected brands within the Japanese market.

During her visit to Cornwall, Ms Truss was joined by Environment Secretary George Eustice for a tour of the Rodda’s Creamery based in Scorrier. With support from the DIT, the clotted cream producer has recently secured a new deal with Japanese importer Mangos Limited, which has resulted in over £60,000 worth of business since July this year.

Mr Eustice, MP for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, commented: “UK dairy farmers and producers produce world-renowned food to the very highest standards. I am very pleased to visit Rodda’s today – this company is an excellent example of how our food and farming businesses can make the most of the global demand for great British produce.

Environment Secretary and Cornish MP, George Eustice

Environment Secretary and Cornish MP, George Eustice (Image: Athwenna Irons)

“We are very clear that this Government will stand firm in trade negotiations to ensure that any future trade deals live up to the values of farmers and consumers across the UK, whilst also putting more trading opportunities on the table for farmers and producers.”

According to figures from the DIT, over 3,000 businesses in the South West collectively export £7,500 worth of goods to the USA every minute. The USA is already the South West’s largest export market, accounting for almost one fifth of all South West’s goods exports.