Kemi Badenoch is putting the bee in to Brexit by unveiling a series of trade wins for Britain including a £6million “sweetener” for the nation’s honey producers. International Trade Secretary – and former Tory leadership contender – Ms Badenoch made her announcement as the third round of talks for a UK-Gulf Cooperation Council free trade deal kicks off in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh today.
The Department of Business and Trade is leading a first-of-its-kind trade mission to Dubai intended to boost opportunities for women-led businesses, as well as two more trade missions to Saudi Arabia to drive exports for UK education and sports companies.
Meanwhile, the Government has secured a major export win for UK honey producers by removing a trade barrier which blocked the export of honey to Saudi Arabia.
Over the course of the next five years, the move will be worth £6 million to UK businesses.
Ms Badenoch, the MP for Saffron Walden in Essex, said: “I’m very pleased that we’re heading into our third round of negotiations with the GCC.
“A free trade deal with the Gulf will strengthen supply chains, and grow our food and drink, manufacturing and renewable energy sectors.”
She continued: “Trade deals like this one open up new opportunities for UK businesses, such as removing even more market access barriers harming UK competitiveness globally, like the one we successfully scrapped preventing UK honey getting into Saudi Arabia.”
The process for registering UK honey producers was developed by the UK’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), as well as the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and DBT policy officials with the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, enabling them to start exporting into the country.
The removal of trade barriers will benefit Rowse Honey, among other smaller producers. The brand, owned by Valeo Food Group, represents roughly 95 percent of the UK honey market.
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Ian Ainsworth, Managing Director of Valeo Foods said: “As the UKs leading packer of honeys sourced from the UK and from around the world, we are always looking at ways to develop our business outside our home markets.
“We are pleased to have played a part in opening market access for UK honey in Saudi Arabia and look forward to developing further the business relationship between both countries into the future”.
Additionally, the first-of-its-kind trade mission to Dubai, also launched today, will aim to boost export opportunities to the lucrative market of the UAE for exciting women-led retail businesses.
More than 30 firms are taking part, including Amazing Jane Activewear, led by co-chief executive Claire Goodliff, and Freya Rose London, a shoe and jewellery designer founded by CEO Freya Rose Archer.
The free programme will help the women entrepreneurs build new business connections, host workshops, networking events, as well as executive tailored coaching and inspirational keynote presentations at the Summit in Dubai from female entrepreneurs in the retail industry.
Ms Archer said: “I feel it is an amazing alignment to participate in the DBT Dubai mission which focuses on empowering women in business, as I’m particularly looking forward to being part of a mission which celebrates some of the most successful women in retail and being inspired by their stories and visions.”
In Saudi Arabia this week, during two further missions led by the department, more than 10 schools and 20 sports businesses will drive exports across the UK’s education and sports sectors.
Over the course of days, the companies will link up with government ministries, hold policy roundtables, and meet with global investors to discover the growing business opportunities which Saudi Arabia has to offer.
In total, more than 100 UK negotiators from across the UK government are taking part in this round of negotiations.