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Selling cheese to the Chinese

REPRESENTATIVES FROM the Scottish food and drink industry are travelling to Japan and China next week on a trade mission.

The joint initiative between Scottish Development International and Scotland Food and Drink will be headed up by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead and comes on the back of Scottish food and drink exports to Asia reaching a record high of more than £1bn in 2011, with exports to Japan increasing by 25% year-on-year to £91m.

Within the group are representatives from three major dairy companies – First Milk, Graham's and Milk Link – the first Scottish dairy contingent ever to visit China. This Chinese market offers extensive opportunities for Scottish producers to tap into with specialist cheese and butter.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr Lochhead said: "The food and drink sector is one of our greatest assets and this trade visit provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase the very best of Scottish produce in two key growth markets. I hope this mission will help boost some of Scotland's household names to be global food and drink brands on the world stage."

Mr Lochhead and the 17 companies will be joined in a week-long mission by Scottish Food and Drink chief executive James Withers, who added: "Food and drink is Scotland's fastest growing export sector. We are hugely ambitious about the opportunities that still lie ahead."

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