British dairy farmers have been handed a major Brexit boost as a landmark cheese shipment arrived in Australia.
Up to 12 varieties of raw milk cheese will be allowed to be exported Down Under thanks to a new deal to remove a trade barrier which blocked their import.
Until now, Australia had only allowed two types to be imported – both from France.
The first batches of British raw milk cheese arrived in Australia this week with a further three varieties expected to follow shortly.
The list includes iconic British cheeses like Red Leicester, Gloucester and Cheddar, produced by farms with a long tracked record of controlling food safety risks.
The 12 producers are Appleby’s Cheshire, Appleby’s Double Gloucester, Hafod, Isle of Mull, Keen’s Cheddar, Kirkham’s Lancashire, Lincolnshire Poacher, Montgomery’s Cheddar, Sparkenhoe Red Leicester, St Andrew’s Anster, St Andrew’s Cheddar and Westcombe Cheddar.
It comes as UK firms celebrate Small Business Saturday today, which aims to encourage consumers to support them both in person and online.
UK cheese producers are set to further benefit from the recently signed UK-Australia trade deal which is set to slash tariffs on cheese exports to Australia.
The £10.4 billion agreement will see tariffs on UK exports of cheese, currently up to 20 percent, fully eliminated after five years, giving UK manufacturers further opportunities in the market.
Exports Minister Andrew Bowie said: “Small Business Saturday is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the incredible export journeys of British businesses and I am delighted British raw milk cheesemakers can now export to Australia.
“Across the globe, the UK is renowned for its high standards in safety and quality so I am excited that businesses across the dairy sector can freely share their produce with Australian consumers to enjoy.
“This is just the latest success story as we continue to unlock billions by breaking down trade barriers. When we open up new markets, we open up new opportunities for small firms to export – boosting wages, supporting jobs and growing the economy.”
Technical Director of Neal’s Yard Dairy Bronwen Percival said: “While the total volume of raw milk cheese being exported to Australia is not huge in global terms, the extra sales are very meaningful to the small British family farms that make these wonderful cheeses.
“We all know that Australian biosecurity and food safety standards are extraordinarily stringent. The fact that we were able to demonstrate that these British raw-milk cheesemakers are working to a standard equivalent to that demanded in Australia is a powerful statement about the calibre of production here in the UK.”
UK food and drink exports to Australia have more than doubled in the last decade and the new trade deal is expected to increase trade with Australia by 53 percent, boost the economy by £2.3 billion and add £900 million to household wages each year in the long run.
Small businesses are set to benefit from the deal, with 13,300 UK already exporting goods to Australia, representing 87 per cent of all UK goods exporters to Australia in 2020.
The deal is expected to enter into force in the first part of next year.