The UK has secured an estimated $4.4 million dairy trade deal with China. The agreement gives the UK the ability to export its imported dairy products from third countries into China.

According to data released by the UK government demand for dairy products in China has grown by 20 percent. Last year the UK reported that it had exported more than $185 million worth of dairy products into China. It is estimated that at this rate China will overtake the US as the largest dairy importer by the year 2022.

Liam Fox UK international trade secretary, who signed the agreement stated that “This is my fourth visit to China this year and I’m delighted to see the completion of this deal, bringing significant benefits to dairy producers across the UK at a time when British food and drink exports are at a record high.”

“China is the UK’s fifth largest trading partner, with exports growing by 28.5% in 2017 when compared with the previous year. As an international economic department, DIT [UK Department for International Trade] is working with our partners across the world to liberalise international trade by removing barriers to commerce, helping businesses and ensuring greater choice for consumers worldwide,” added fox.

The UK’s trade commissioner for China Richard Burn added that “The appetite in China for UK produce is clearly already strong. However, there remains untapped potential across all food and drink categories. Imports into China of products such as yoghurt, flavoured milk and cheese have seen rapid growth as Chinese consumers increasingly associate these items with nutrition and wellbeing.”

Last year New Zealand exported $4.1 billion worth of dairy products into China.