Food and drink industry bosses join trade advisory group

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

The food and drinks chiefs will advise Liz Truss
The food and drinks chiefs will advise Liz Truss

Related tags Brexit Meat & Seafood Supply chain

Food industry bosses including Adam Couch, chief executive of meat processor Cranswick, have been confirmed as members of the new trade advisory group (TAG) advising International Trade Secretary Liz Truss.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has said it is stepping up engagement with British industry and farmers as UK trade negotiations intensify. As part of this initiative 11 expert trade advisory groups​ have been confirmed, covering a range of sectors. The Government has now officially revealed the members of each group.

The agri-food group’s members include Adam Couch, chief executive officer, Cranswick; James Chase, founder of Chase Distillery; Ashley Reek, managing director, Long Clawson Dairy; and John Shropshire, founder, G’s Global.

The announcement of the group, which began meeting in July last year, follows the setting up of the Trade & Agriculture Commission to help protect UK farmers​.

Trade and Agriculture Commission

Last month, former Tesco technical boss and ex-chief executive of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Tim Smith was named as the chair of the new Trade and Agriculture Commission​. 

Their advice will be used to help inform the Government’s negotiating position and deliver vital industry requirements that benefit the whole UK, including securing new market access. 

Adam Couch, chief executive of Cranswick, said:“I am delighted to be able to work with the Department for International Trade on the development of the Agri-Food Trade Advisory Group.

“There are so many opportunities that we can explore as part of the programme to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of global agricultural standards to maintain our competitive position as we seek to negotiate future trade agreements.”

Truss: 'talks entering crucial latter stages'

Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss said: “This is about bringing business closer to the negotiating table and using their expertise to help secure the best possible deals that deliver jobs and growth across Britain. Talks with Japan, the US, Australia and New Zealand are entering their crucial latter stages, so it is only right that we step up engagement with vital industries to utilise their technical and strategic expertise.

“I want business in Britain to feel engaged and informed about the work we’re doing to build an independent trade policy and how it impacts them. As we recover from coronavirus we want to strike deals that benefit every part of the country so we can build back better and deliver a fairer country for all.”

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association said:The UK has a unique opportunity to shape its trade policy and trade relationships globally. Now is the time to champion British businesses and brands internationally.

“The TAG will allow industry to be part of the new trade agenda and help pinpoint drivers for success both domestically and globally.” 

'Valuable asset'

Commenting on his involvement (see list below), Phil Hadley, international market development director of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) said: “Food and farming is a valuable asset to the UK economy and we have, for many years, enjoyed a strong global reputation due to our high animal welfare and food safety standards – making us an ideal country with which to do business.

"The latest HMRC export figures are a testament to this, as despite the many challenges we’ve faced this year, shipments of red meat around the world have continued to grow, rising above £733m in the first six months of 2020. This comes after an incredible 2019, in which the UK shipped a staggering £3.1bn worth of red meat, potatoes, dairy and cereals and oilseeds to the EU and third country markets. 

“We are on the cusp of exporting our first shipments of UK beef in more than 20 years to the US and China and trade talks with Japan, New Zealand and Australia have entered a crucial final stage. Our ambitions to become an even stronger, more powerful trading nation can be achieved by working in partnership with other key organisations and businesses."

Members of the agri-food advisory group

  • British Beer and Pub Association – Emma McClarkin – chief executive officer
  • AHDB – Phil Hadley – international market development director
  • Blacks of Bacton - James Black – managing director
  • British Retail Consortium – Andrew Opie – director of food
  • Chase Distillery/Tyrells Court Farm – James Chase – founder
  • Cranswick - Adam Couch – chief executive officer
  • Farmers Union Wales - Nick Fenwick – head of policy
  • Food and Drink Federation – Dominic Goudie – Head of International Trade
  • Forman & Son (salmon) – Lance Forman – owner and founder
  • Foyle Food Group – Terry Acheson – chief executive officer
  • G’s Global – John Shropshire – founder 
  • Long Clawson – Ashley Reek – managing director
  • Mercer Foundation and Moma Foods – Tom Mercer – partner of Mercer Farming and chairman of Moma Foods
  • National Farmers Union (NFU) – Nick von Westenholz – head of trade
  • NFU Cymru – John Mercer – director
  • NFU Scotland – Jonathan Hall – director of policy
  • National Sheep Association – Phil Stocker – chief executive officer
  • Organic Milk Suppliers Co-operative – Richard Hampton – managing director
  • Scotch Whisky Association – Ian McKendrick – international director
  • Scottish Seafood Association – Jimmy Buchan – chief executive officer
  • Seafish – Aoife Martin – director of operations
  • Seafish – Fiona Wright - general manager
  • Seafood Sector – Toby Baxendale – UK entrepreneur
  • Tate & Lyle – Gerald Mason – senior vice president
  • Tesco – David Cohen – Scali – category manager, grocery commodities
  • The International Meat Trade Association (IMTA) – Katie Doherty – chief executive officer
  • IMTA - Katrina Walsh – head of policy
  • The Wine & Spirit Trade Association – Miles Beale – chief executive officer
  • UK Hospitality - Kate Nicholls – chief executive officer
  • Ulster Farmers Union – Wesley Aston – chief executive officer

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