CPTPP: Initial benefits to UK farming industry 'limited', AHDB says – FarmingUK

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The UK’s accession to a trade pact which includes several countries in Asia and the Pacific will bring ‘limited’ benefits to British farmers, a new report says, but opportunities may grow as more countries join.

The AHDB has today (15 May) launched its trade modelling work on the UK joining the CPTPP, which consists of eleven nations, including Japan and Australia.

The report highlights population growth, economic development and the expansion of middle-class consumers as “drivers for long-term opportunities” for UK agri exports, such as red meat and dairy.

While the levy board says that “initial opportunities are limited”, going forward, there could be “more expansive benefits” for the UK farming industry.

This is particularly the case in the Asian and South American markets, the report explains, driven by increased demand for red meat and dairy products.

Further opportunities for UK red meat and dairy may also be presented by other countries such as China, Taiwan, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Uruguay joining the CPTPP with the offering of preferential terms and either lowering or remove tariffs over time to other members.

Jess Corsair, AHDB trade senior analyst, said the UK’s accession to the CPTPP was “very much about playing the long game” in terms of the potential benefits it would bring to UK exporters of meat and dairy.

“The expansion of the middle class in Asian and South American markets is likely to be a driver for these longer-term benefits for UK exports,” she added.

“Consequently, while we don’t anticipate any dramatic changes to trade overnight, the forecast increase in demand for pork and beef by 2031 in Japan, Vietnam, Mexico and Canada is encouraging.

“Opportunities for dairy with significant growth in Malaysia and Japan for butter and cheese, and for skimmed milk powder in Mexico will be areas that the UK can capitalise on.”

The report, compiled in conjunction with Harper Adams University, also examines the strategic implications for UK agriculture of joining the CPTPP.

The CPTPP is a free trade agreement between 11 countries around the Pacific Rim – Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan.

Responding to the trade agreement, which was signed in March, NFU President Minette Batters said joining the CPTPP could ‘provide some good opportunities’ to get more British food on plates overseas.

Compared to the deals struck with Australia and New Zealand, she said the government had negotiated ‘a far more considered and balanced outcome’.

“I will continue to press government to ensure its domestic policies are aimed at improving the competitiveness of British farming and strengthening our domestic food security,” Mrs Batters said.