What Margaret Thatcher did for financial services and the City, the current government will do for British jam and other locally-produced food.
Andrea Leadsom, the secretary for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, unveiled a plan to put UK-made products, such as cider and biscuits, at the heart of a new trade strategy.
“Our food and drink is renowned for having the very best standards of animal welfare, quality and safety and I want even more of the world to enjoy what we have to offer,” Leadsom said in a statement.
“Scottish salmon, Welsh beef, Northern Irish whiskey and English cheese are already well-known globally and I want us to build on this success by helping even more companies send their top quality food and drink abroad,” Leadsom said.
In the 1980s, the Conservative government at the time identified financial services as key to Britain’s international trade. It deregulated banks and investment firms as part of a plan to cement London as the world’s financial centre, a policy which became known as the “Big Bang.”
Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has raised the possibility of a so-called “Hard Brexit,” which prioritises control immigration controls over economic links such as the European Union’s financial passport, which allows firms to use London as a base to sell their services to Europe.
Now the focus is on physical goods. The government’s international action plan includes a strategy to “open up new opportunities for British beef” in Japan and “growing demand for a wide range of British products including our whisky and gin” in the Mexican market.
The plan targets an increase in food exports to Japan worth as much as £185 million.
Mark Garnier, the international trade minister, Mark Garnier, said: “This ambitious new plan shows the strength of our commitment to boosting UK food and drink exports around the world.”