The UK government has insisted the country’s dairy industry should look to meet growing demand in China.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Owen Paterson is visiting China this week, in what the Government described as “the biggest ever food trade delegation” to the country. Paterson will meet dairy companies, trade associations, industry experts and retailers in Shangahi in a bid to kick-start food trade between the UK and China.

“From chocolate to cheddar, China’s population is getting a taste for dairy, and Britain’s world-class food industry can supply that demand,” Paterson said.

According to the assessment of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK dairy manufacturers should take the most of a “window of opportunity” that is presented by the fact that domestic dairy production is struggling to meet growing demand.

Although the UK imports GBP1.2bn more dairy produce than it exports, DEFRA suggested the industry should ramp up production to take advantage of opportunities “at home and abroad” because other European countries are tied to quotas until 2015.

“I’ll be helping British businesses grab the opportunity with both hands, helping our country compete and thrive in the global race,” Paterson said.

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