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Flying Dutch delegate to get red carpet treatment at East Anglian food and drink showcase

PUBLISHED: 08:54 20 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:04 20 September 2018

Local Flavours 2015 trade show of East Anglia's food and drink producers Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Local Flavours 2015 trade show of East Anglia's food and drink producers Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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A group of Dutch buyers is set to get a VIP welcome at an East Anglian food and drink showcase as the region strives to encourage more trade with the Netherlands.

Local Flavours 2017 Picture: SONYA DUNCANLocal Flavours 2017 Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

More than 100 of the region’s food and drink producers will be at Local Flavours, which is returning to the Norfolk Showground Arena on Wednesday, September 26, where they will be hoping to attract interest from around 1,000 buyers attending.

Among these will be a group of Dutch buyers, who will get the red carpet treatment. The Dutch presence reflects a historical tie with the region dating back to the 1560s when the first ‘Strangers’ arrived, and a present one through the oil, gas, and renewables sector in the southern North Sea, as well as aviation, agri-tech and food processing.

The ambition to encourage further trade links between the east and the Netherlands follows last year’s visit to the region by the Dutch Ambassador Simon Smits, who met with local firms and civic representatives.

The initiative is sponsored by the private and public sector, including support from Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils, Norfolk and Suffolk Chamber and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Local Flavours showcase 2017 Picture: SONYA DUNCANLocal Flavours showcase 2017 Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

Local Flavours organisers believe increased use of east coast ports for importing and exporting produce from areas such as the Netherlands has potential and may move up the agenda if delays and traffic jams affecting commercial vehicles on the south coast become more frequent occurrence.

Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia LEP, said he was “delighted” that Dutch buyers will be among those attending.

“We already have strong connections with businesses in Holland and there is a lot going on to further strengthen those networks, so I’m sure they will enjoy meeting some of our fantastic local food and drink producers,” he said.

Valerie Watson-Brown, director of organiser The Lively Crew, said: “This year we will be joined by national retailers Fortum and Masons and Ocado, first-timers along with many others, giving our producers even more opportunity to meet new customers.

“The Dutch connection adds a new dimension and we are pleased our sponsors and supporters have used Local Flavours as a producer showcase to attract overseas buyers.”

Trade officials of Dutch province Drenthe signed a partnership agreement with Norfolk and Suffolk in September.

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