THE Minister for Exports visited a livestock auction mart this week as part of a tour of the region.

At the meeting on Tuesday, Paul Howell, MP for Sedgefield, welcomed Andrew Griffith, the Minister for Exports, to the Darlington Farmers Auction Mart (DfAM).

As well as visiting DFAM, Mr Griffith visited the Darlington Economic Campus, where the Department for International Trade (DIT) have a base and the Minister and civil servants visited various sites around Darlington and the Sedgefield constituency.

The Minister met with Mark Dent, DfAM chairman, Laurie Norris from the National Farmers' Union, and local farmers Clare Wise and Billy Maughan, and listened to what the DIT can do to boost British farming exports around the world.

He heard where farming opportunities could exist and what could be done to help promote high-quality British produce and facilitate smooth trade.

Billy Maughan said: “After discussing the opportunities for the export of British food with Paul at the Great Yorkshire Show, it was great to see Paul raise the issue with the Minister in Parliament and fantastic that the Minister found time to visit us to discuss them further.

“Farmers in our area and throughout the country are proud to produce food to some of the highest standards in the world. There is real potential to both build on existing markets as well as develop new ones throughout the world.

"As farmers we are keen to see these markets develop and today was a fantastic opportunity to discuss how the government can help this vision be delivered. A key ask was around getting people on the ground in key markets such as the middle East and parts of Asia to promote what we have to offer in terms of quality, sustainability and traceability.”

Paul Howell said: “I was delighted to bring Andrew Griffith, the Minister for Exports to Darlington Farmers Auction Market to meet local farmers and the NFU.

"They were able to tell him how Government can help them take advantage of export opportunities arising from trade deals and the importance of maintaining import standards. He was joined by his team from both London and Darlington. Having some DIT officials based at the Darlington Economic Campus really makes it easier for them to meet and relate to my constituents.”