UK businesses hope to benefit from EU-Thai negotiations

British agri-technology firms are hoping to take advantage of a new trade agreement planned between the EU and Thailand.

The agreement is currently being negotiated in Brussels and is reflective of the growing business relationships between the the two countries. If the negotiations are successful, UK businesses could be presented with better access to food, technology and innovation markets in Asia.

In a bid to carve out better relationships ahead of any agreement, the UK Food and Farming Minister David Heath has led a delegation to the Viv Asia agri-technology show in Bangkok. Heath has led more than 30 UK companies to the show, which started today and will end tomorrow (14 March).

Heath said: "An EU-Thailand trade agreement presents great opportunities for British businesses, such as those here at Viv Asia, to offer the latest technology, innovation and know-how to companies in Thailand and other countries in the region.

"Thailand and the UK are both food-producing and food-loving nations. I hope the exchange of ideas here will lead to new, productive collaborations between the UK and Thai agri-business companies, as well as companies from elsewhere in south-east Asia."

The British companies attending Viv Asia will be hoping to diversify their trade and open up new export markets.

Meanwhile, Chris Jackson from the British Pig Association highlighted his delight over Heath’s presence at Viv Asia and said he felt it was the most important event for the pig industry.

"I am so pleased he is supporting the pig industry and advances in genetics, which will help to meet the enormous growth in the demand for pork worldwide while reducing the environmental impact of increased production. Britain is the world leader in pig genetics and will have a strong presence at the show," added Jackson.

If negotiations go well, then the UK, which currently exports £80.6m of food and drink to Thailand, could export more. The British Government is also keen to help UK business export more and is supporting initiatives such as ‘Open to Export’ to further this.

Open to Export is a free online forum designed for the UK business community to share best-practice, knowledge and bespoke advice on exports, so they can successfully enter new markets and operate overseas.