Trade, Development, and Immigration

Three cheers for the UK-China deal on dairy

In all the media coverage of the No Deal Memos that the government is now releasing, one piece of news seems to have gone relatively unreported. This is the landmark deal that Secretary of State Liam Fox has been able to secure for UK dairy farmers for access to the lucrative China market.

The opening of the China market has transformed dairy sectors in many parts of the world – New Zealand has been transformed into a dairy power that controls 30% of the global dairy market despite producing only 3% of the world’s milk.  New Zealand has become a dairy power house because it has managed to take positions in the leading edges of the global supply chain for dairy.

The UK now has the opportunity to do the same, by connecting to global dairy supply chains and exporting more of its products to the Chinese market.  This deal follows a deal to open up the China market to UK beef exports after a long ban.

These are significant achievements by the UK’s trade secretary, and his team are to be commended. China is a notoriously difficult market to crack, especially on regulatory issues, where the regulatory black box has proved impenetrable to many agricultural producers. DIT is right to pursue behind the border barriers like the Chinese dairy rules, and seek to reduce them for UK exporters.

Increased participation by the UK’s government officials in their own capacity, and not as part of EU delegations will increase our ability to knock down trade barriers and regulatory protection, increasing wealth for the UK’s farmers, businesses and consumers, and giving greater opportunities for the British people.

Shanker is an IEA Trade Fellow, having previously been the Director of the International Trade and Competition Unit (ITCU) of the Institute of Economic Affairs. As one of the world’s leading trade and competition lawyers, he has worked on the privatisation of the UK electricity market, the transition of the Soviet, Central and Eastern European economies and the apertura in Latin America. He has worked on the accession of Poland and Hungary to the EU, the WTO accessions of a number of countries, including China and Russia. Shanker was educated at St. Paul’s School, London and has an M.A in Chemistry from Balliol College, Oxford University and postgraduate legal degrees in both the UK and US.

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