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NIFDA Executive Director Michael Bell OBE has been appointed to the new Food and Drink Export Council. Co-Chaired by the Department for International Trade and Industry, the FDEC is a collaborative export committee focused on boosting the UK’s food and drink exports.


Michael joins industry representatives from the rest of the UK, as well as officials from DIT, DEFRA and the devolved administrations, and the group’s pan-UK collaborative approach will harness collective expertise to improve exports.


The FDEC will use a collaborative approach. It will harness expertise and resource from the UK government and devolved administrations and industry in a collective endeavour to increase UK agriculture, food, and drink exports.


Commenting on the establishment of the Council, Michael said: “Northern Ireland food and drink has a global reputation for quality, sustainability and innovation. We are export driven – already Northern Ireland’s second largest goods exporter, with 77% of total food and drink produced in Northern Ireland being consumed elsewhere.


“The FDEC provides a great opportunity for industry in Northern Ireland to collaborate with industry and government partners from across the UK to share knowledge, build capability and raise our collective ambition.”


The group will not set government policy or make decisions on behalf of government. It is not a lobbying body. The group has no remit to discuss strategic trade policy, negotiations of free trade agreements, or areas of devolved or reserved competence.


The FDEC will meet at least on a quarterly basis. The FDEC has an initial 18-month term, with periodic reviews to ensure it delivers in line with its terms of reference.


The Council is co-chaired by the Minister for Exports, Andrew Bowie MP, and Ian Wright CBE.


Current members are:


Ian Wright CBE (Co-chair)

Andy Richardson, Volac

Anthony Mulley, Quorn Foods

Dominic Goudie, Food and Drink Federation

Donna Fordyce, Seafood Scotland

Ewen Cameron, Scottish Development International

Grainne Moody, Invest Northern Ireland

Helen Dallimore, Coombe Castle International

Iain Baxter, Scotland Food and Drink

Keith Smyton, Welsh Government Food Division

Lee Hemmings, Belvoir Farm

Margaret Boanas, International Meat Trade Association

Michael Bell OBE, Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association

Nick von Westenholz, National Farmers Union

Patricia Dillon, Speyside Distillers

Phil Hadley, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

Rachel Gwyon, DIT

Sandra Sullivan MBE, Food and Drink Exporters Association

Tee Sandhu, SamosaCo

Tim Brooks, Defra