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Salmon sales help exports grow

Leaping salmon sales helped food and drink exports return to growth last year after a flat 2012, according to an industry body.

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said total UK food and non-alcoholic drink exports rose 5%, or about £600 million, to £12.8 billion.

Salmon was one of the best performing products, up 38% to £465 million, while chocolate exports rose 9% to £571 million.

Sales of fresh salmon to the world's two biggest economies were among the highlights. They rose by £43 million to £199 million for the US, and almost doubled in China, up £23 million to £50 million.

Steve Barnes, FDF's economic and commercial services director, said: "Food and drink exports are back in growth, testament to the strong demand for quality British food and drink and the growing importance of export to our industry."

He said the recovery of exports to the EU, which grew 3% as their economies began to pick up, was particularly welcome with the area accounting for three-quarters of sales.

Non-EU markets saw 11.5% growth, with exports to China soaring by 82% - as pork sales rose 92% and salmon sales by 90%.

Ireland, the UK's biggest market, saw sales rise 7% to £3.21 billion and France, the second biggest, increased by 10% to £1.47 billion.

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