Exports for British festive treats on the rise

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Image: Getty, Svittlana
Image: Getty, Svittlana

Related tags Trends

Demand for luxury British staples such as Scotch whisky, chocolate and sparkling wine soared this Christmas from consumers in Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) countries.

Exports to the trade bloc in the Indo-Pacific – which the UK signed up to in July – boomed over the festive period, with the value of some goods rocketing by more than 200%.

Business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch said: “This Christmas our fantastic British food and drink producers are already reaping the rewards of the UK’s tilt towards the Indo-Pacific, with high demand in fast-growing economies such as Singapore and Malaysia for our world-renowned festive staples.  

“Once we become a fully-fledged CPTPP member, tariffs on more than 99% of UK goods will be set at 0%, ensuring even more people across the globe will be able to celebrate next Christmas with a glass of English sparkling wine or dram of Scotch whisky.”

Exports to CPTPP

  • Sales of British festive treats including chocolate, gin, whisky and sparkling wine to CPTPP countries are up significantly this year 
  • Under CPTPP and existing trade deals tariffs on these festive products will be 0%  
  • Scotch Whisky to Singapore has increased by 31% and by 43% to Malaysia, while UK sparkling wine exports to Japan have increased by 140%   
  • UK chocolate exports to Singapore have increased by 220% in current prices to over £26m
  • UK sparkling wine exports to Japan have increased by 140% to over £26m   

Scotch whisky exports

Scotch Whisky continued to dominate the Singapore market, with more than £380m worth of Scotch Whisky exported from the UK to Singapore over the last year, an increase of 31% (£90 million) in current prices on the previous year.

Its huge popularity extends to other markets in CPTPP, with a 43% (£11m) increase of Scotch Whisky exports to Malaysia over the past year.

Last year, whisky played a key role in boosting drinks exports, as overseas sales jumped 13% to £9.4bn.​ Spirits played a key role in rising drinks exports in the year ended 31 July 2023, according to charted accountant and business advisor Hazlewoods.

Scotch Whisky Association chief executive Mark Kent said the UK’s accession to CPTPP will open up new opportunities for UK products in key markets in the region – especially in light of Malaysia’s phased elimination if its import tariff.

“With the potential for more countries to join CPTPP in the coming years, Scotch Whisky will benefit from further liberalisation in the region,”​ Kent added.

Demand for chocolate

Confectionery has seen significant export success the CPTPP, with more than £26m of chocolate sent to Singapore alone in 2023. Demand for British chocolate sparked a £18m increase in current prices in exports to the country over the past year.

Hampshire-based chocolate manufacturer Summerdown one of the businesses enjoying new success after taking advantage of the UK’s recent trade deals.

Jo Colman, Summerdown chief mint officer, said: “Seeing what we are creating from my family's farm in Hampshire sold on the shelves of the world’s best food halls from Singapore to Sydney will never not be exciting. 

“The support we have received from DBT ​[the Department for Business and Trade] over the years in these key markets has always been invaluable in enabling us to focus on promoting and extolling the virtues of what makes everything we sell so special.”

The DBT estimated a £745m surge for the food and drink sector as the UK dismantles trade barriers, with around £440m in fresh opportunities to UK alcohol exporters alone.

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