International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has today (Thursday, June 30) announced plans to resolve around 100 trade barriers, including those in China and South Korea in relation to UK lamb and beef.
In total, the opportunities she aims to unlock are worth more than £20 billion, and the markets in China and South Korea around £4 billion/year.
£2.5 billion of this would come from removing restrictions on UK beef, for the first time, in South Korea and £1.5 billion of this would come from opening the Chinese market for UK lamb, also for the first time.
These figures do not represent the total size of the import market in these countries, but are based on South Korea and China's import of £4 billion of lamb and beef combined from the world.
It is expected that the trade barrier in South Korea will be resolved within the next five years; no timeline has been specified for the Chinese market.
The UK gained greater freedom to remove trade barriers, along with the ability to negotiate its own Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), when it left the European Union.
A full publication for the 'hit list' of these circa 100 barriers is not possible, the government has said, due to commercial sensitivities, and the likelihood that publicising specific UK asks will impede negotiations with host governments.
While many barriers in the Agri, Food and Drink sector will be tackled, others will be in sectors like the Financial and Professional Services and Healthcare and Lifesciences sectors.
For example, Trevelyan aims to tackle restrictions on UK-qualified lawyers from operating in Japan and rules that delay British medical devices from entering South Africa.
Commenting on her announcement, Secretary Trevelyan said:
"Every week we remove trade barriers somewhere around the world, helping more and more businesses all over the country.
"We know that businesses who export pay higher wages and are more productive than businesses who do not, but too often, complex trade rules and practical obstacles prevent them selling overseas.
"This bonfire of the barriers will grow our economy by allowing our brilliant businesses to satisfy the enormous global appetite for their goods and services."