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Dairy UK Releases New Export Strategy; US Among Target Markets UK Wants Opened

Dairy UK has released a new export strategy that identifies a number of actions and recommendations aimed at helping create a positive environment for UK dairy exports and result in further growth.

In recent years, the UK dairy industry has made “good progress” in growing its export sales, the report noted. UK dairy exports outside of the European Union (EU) have increased by 91 percent in volume over the last five years through to the end of 2014.

During the same period, the volume of dairy exports within the EU has increased by 28 percent.

For the UK dairy industry to continue to grow its exports, it is essential that it is internationally competitive and its product offerings meet customer requirements, including having the necessary health approvals, the report said.

A number of actions included in the report are for the industry to take forward, while some require the government and its agencies to take action in order to ensure relevant regulatory and certification systems are in place and that market access is improved.

Dairy UK members have an aspiration to continue to grow their exports by value and volume in the coming years, the report said. Setting growth targets in the current depressed market is difficult and it should be recognized that export growth will not be linear as it must take into account current and future periods of currency and market volatility as well as milk availability.

However, in extrapolating export trends in recent years, a goal of a 20 to 30 percent increase in exports over the next five years is regarded as a reasonable and sustainable target for the dairy sector, the report said.

Overall, the report identifies 17 actions and recommendations which, if embraced by the industry and the government, will enhance the UK dairy industry’s export performance.

Some of the changes that may be sought to improve the regulatory environment for dairy export growth or otherwise simplify export certification requirements may require importing country agreement to any changes. The industry recognizes that this is likely to be resource intensive for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and therefore resources should be prioritized to those markets that will provide the most commercial benefit to UK dairy exporters.

Dairy UK has surveyed its members regarding the target markets they wish to see opened. The following are the top markets which the report said should be the focus of efforts to streamline existing export systems and processes in the first instance: the US, Gulf States and North Africa, China, Japan, Australia and Canada.

These were followed closely by Brazil, India, South Africa and South Korea as being either current or future important markets for the UK.

A review of export statistics by value for the year ending September 2015 would endorse the importance of China and the United States

With 20 percent and 11 percent share of UK non-EU dairy exports respectively, they are currently the two most important dairy export markets for the UK by value.

Recommendations regarding UK dairy export target markets include: Dairy UK will provide DEFRA with a regular review of market priorities for the industry; DEFRA will notify the industry of ministerial visits and consider an inward engagement program for dairy importers; and Dairy UK will develop a stakeholder map and engagement plan for key stakeholders that could support achievement of the industry’s export objectives.

Other recommendations in the report include:
—With input from the dairy industry, DEFRA should explore alternative approaches that would eliminate the requirement in Great Britain for physical sign-off of consignments by the Official Veterinarians (OVs) at the point of export and build on existing control and verification programs.
—DEFRA should consider options for centralizing the provision of any export certification required by OVs.
—DEFRA and the industry should establish a long-term plan to implement a fully integrated electronic certification system for dairy products.
—Consolidate the issuing of all official export certificates in Great Britain within one appropriate government agency that can also provide advice to exporters on market access requirements.
—Industry and government should develop a protocol that sets out guidance for inspections and audits that includes preparation and timely follow-up.