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Spirits drive UK exports to China

Published:  10 December, 2019

Sales of UK spirits to China are up 35.5% year-on-year in the first half of 2019, a new report from the Food and Drink Federation has revealed.

Spirits are now Britain’s third largest export category to China after meat and fish and seafood.

Overall, the UK exported £557.5m of food-and-drink products to what is the world’s largest economy – up 25.2% year on year – in the first nine months of 2019, out of a total of £16.9bn.

China is now the UK’s seventh largest trading partner outside the EU, and food-and-drink exports to it for the year to date are up by £64.6m year on year, the largest value increase in more than 20 years.

Food-and-drink exports to the country have more than doubled in the last five years, up from under £260m in 2013 to over £620m in 2018.

The UK’s global food-and-drink exports now stand at £17.4bn for the first nine months of 2019, up 6.3% year on year. The non-EU share of that ticked up 1.7% to 39.4%, with exports to Asia rising 10.2% to £585.8m.

Food-and-drink exports to Japan, Taiwan and India posted growth of more than 20% year on year.

Japan is the world’s sixth largest market for whisky, according to the Scotch Whisky Association, and whisky and salmon exports to the country have together risen 33.3% over the year to date.

Whisky exports are up 11.3% by value globally for the first three quarters of 2019, hitting £3.7bn. Gin is up 13.7% to £515.2m and wine is up 8.9% to £497.9m. Wine volumes fell back 15.6%, however.