Trade deal sees China import UK seed potatoes

Trade deal sees China import UK seed potatoes

UK seed potatoes will be imported by China for the first time following a trade deal.

An agreement was signed by the UK Government on Friday which will see the potatoes exported to China, now the largest global consumer of potatoes.

The deal is expected to bring major benefits to Scotland, ministers said, with around 70% of the 100,000 tonnes of seed potatoes exported annually from the UK coming from Scottish farms.

The potato is now China’s fourth staple crop after rice, corn and wheat.

The agreement was signed by International Trade Secretary Liam Fox during a visit to China.

He said: “With China expected to have 220 cities with a population of more than a million by 2030, that is a huge market that UK potato farmers will now be able to make the most of.

“I’m delighted that this latest deal is set to boost our £67.5 billion trading relationship with China even further.”

Rob Burns, head of Crops Export Trade Development at the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) in the UK, said: “It’s a real coup to be one of the first western countries able to export seed to China and it’s been achieved through a lot of hard work and the great reputation of UK seed potatoes which are rightly renowned around the world for their high health status and high quality.

“I expect the Chinese market will be particularly interested in processing varieties used for chips and crisps as there is a big demand for those products.”

Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “This is welcome news for the Scottish seed potato sector and further recognition of its global renown for producing high-quality seed potatoes.

“The signing of this trade agreement has the potential to lead to its expansion to the rest of the UK, opening up the possibility of market diversification and contributing towards further sustainable growth in the sector.”

- Press Association

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