Trade Snapshot: Q3 2023

13 December 2023

The FDF Trade Snapshot shows that exports between July and September 2023 have fallen by 5.5%. The data shows a large fall in exports and imports from non-EU markets. This report also looks at trade with the Gulf Cooperation Council and Thailand.


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Nicola Thomas, Director at the Food and Drink Export Association said:

"UK Food and Drink exporters continue to face stiff supply chain and inflationary challenges, coupled with domestic pressures which have shifted focus away from overseas markets for some.  Conversely however, we are also seeing that those same domestic pressures are highlighting the risks of operating solely in the home market and, along with the new FTAs on the horizon, are encouraging other industry players to start exporting as a route to future growth."


  • UK exports fell by 5.5% compared to Q3 last year, valuing £6.2bn. Both sales in the EU and non-EU markets fell by 5.0% and 6.0%, respectively.
  • Ireland remains our biggest overseas market with year-to-date sales rising 6.9% to reach £3.0bn. Mandatory ‘Not for EU’ labelling risks a disproportionate impact on exports to our largest partner.
  • Sales to non-EU markets were down overall. However, growth trends continued in Singapore (+48.3%) and Taiwan (+20.1%).
  • Milk and cream exports saw value (+10.1%) and volume (+6.3%) growth, with notable increases on exports to Peru, Belgium, and Bangladesh.
  • Exports to South Korea have held firm, increasing almost 1%. The launch of negotiations between the UK and South Korea, will help us build on the existing FTA to increase market access.


  • Imports have held firm (+3.6%), led by growth from European markets (+6.8%). Denmark (+17.6%) saw impressive growth.
  • Fruit remains our largest import categories despite a 7% volume driven by decreasing imports of apples (-16.8%), oranges (-18.2%) and melons (-18.6%).
  • We await the outcome and implementation timetable for the second round of business duty suspensions. This process needs to be faster and more predictable.
  • Non-EU imports fell slightly (-3.6%). From April 2024, non-EU imports will begin to benefit from the BTOM with the removal of certification and inspection requirements for certain products.
  • At the same time, the Border Target Operating Model will introduce new requirements for EU imports.

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