Our Market Access team works with partners to remove technical barriers of access to new markets and opportunities.
The agri-food industry is a major contributor to the UK economy, but it is constantly under economic pressure. Export provides an opportunity to balance domestic cut preference by selling those products for which there is no strong market at home. For example, domestically, there is high demand for pork loin, but low demand for liver. Exports often enable greater carcase utilisation, adding considerable value to the UK agriculture sector.
Together with horizon-scanning exercises and a unique relationship with industry, the Market Intelligence team allows AHDB to identify emerging and priority markets. In turn, this enables the Market Access team to focus on gaining access to these potential markets. This focused approach is important and recognises that gaining access to new markets is a gradual process, often taking several years.
AHDB work is crucial in securing entry to new markets. This is achieved through close partnership with Government, particularly Defra, the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and the equivalent authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. AHDB also partners with industry, including the UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP), a Government/industry working group specifically for market access in the red meat and livestock sector.
This important work covers:
Subject to intelligence gathered on the targeted market, the UK can request a questionnaire as a first step to trigger the market access process. A questionnaire can also be sent on the initiative of the importing country.
Questionnaires are used to carry out an initial desk based risk assessment of the UK veterinary system. It usually covers the health status of livestock with special regard to exotic animal diseases, any aspects of the general health and the environmental situation, which may pose a risk to importing Third Country. The legislation on live animals and products of animal origin; the organisation of the competent veterinary authority and its inspection and the assurances it can give regarding compliance are also covered.
As described above, the questionnaire covers all aspects of the UK veterinary system, which involves liaising across governments and industry. The market access team take an active role in co-ordinating where appropriate the responses in partnership with Defra. Accuracy and timing are of essence in keeping momentum and discussions open with the targeted country.
Subject to the outcome of the questionnaire, the Third Country may request an audit visit. The overall objective of audit is to verify and assess information previously supplied in the questionnaire. During the audit, the Third Country competent authority will gather evidence on compliance with national and EU legislation on animal health, animal welfare and food safety. The scope of audit is determined by the auditing country.
Here, our market access work consists mainly co-ordinating the audit visits in partnership with Defra and others. This is achieved through the development of an audit itinerary, which include identification, and preparation of premises to be audited. AHDB may also contribute in providing answers to follow up questions.
A typical audit visit may include:
- Opening meeting with the UK competent authority and key government departments
- visit to a farm
- a visit to the territorial body of the competent authority
- authorized competent authority laboratory
- inspection of a processing enterprise
- closing meeting with the UK lead competent authority and others
Subject to outcome of the audit visit, the auditing country may recognize the UK veterinary system as equivalent in term of animal health, animal welfare and food safety. However, there may be situations where full equivalence is not recognized and the Third Country may seek additional assurances. This is translated as an additional requirement for export to that particular country, and UK exporting business have to comply. This may be additional requirement for microbiological testing, or additional processing steps, for example.
Discussions at the technical level take place at this stage and usually involve AHDB senior management, UK Competent Authorities (Defra, FSA, etc) and industry to gather evidence on how the additional requirement can be achieved. All additional requirements must be included in the Export Health Certificate and protocols.
Once access is agreed in principle, the next stage involves drafting an Export Health Certificate (EHC) and its supporting documentation. Every consignment to the importing country must be accompanied by an EHC.
The EHC is an official document confirming that animal health standards and regulations have been met, and the food produced to the agreed standards, so that food and animal products may be exported. The EHC must be completed and signed by an Official Veterinarian who approves the product and its suitability for export.
To facilitate the provision of EHC, UKECP work in partnership with Government across the interested livestock parties. Its key functions include drafting export documents and supporting information, supporting inward/outward mission visits and maintaining specimen EHC documents; www.ukecp.com
A new digital online application service for Export Health Certificates (EHC) has been launched. This new online service replaces the current manual PDF service.
From Winter 2020, EHC Online will have fully replaced the current system for applying for and certifying EHCs. Over 70+ of the most popular EHC are being made available online across a number of commodity groups, including: meat, poultry, fish, germplasm, hides and skins, dairy. From 21 August 2020, all application forms that are live in the new EHC Online system must be made via the service rather than emailing a PDF form to APHA. Note that this will only apply to the forms which are live in EHC Online.
Available EHC’s can now be applied for via the .gov.uk form finder pages. For further information please click here.
A core part of our work is market research. By conducting country analysis and creating international consumer insight reports, we seek to understand the emerging markets we want to target.
Our Consumer and Retail Insight team reviews and monitors consumer behaviour internationally. The aim of this international research is to better understand the shopper and retail environment in key export markets.
In our Horizon report on international consumer buying behaviour, we look at what is important to the consumer and how we can use this information to differentiate our products from those of our competitors. Click to the right to access the full library of reports.
AHDB works hard to deliver British produce across the globe.
Listen to our latest podcasts to find out how our Market Access team works with partners to remove technical barriers of access to new markets and opportunities.
International export events
Our Export Team is focused on developing international markets for British exporters, actively engaging with key supply chain participants in several markets. Attendance at global trade fairs is key.
By hosting British exporters on AHDB's pavilions, trade fairs provide an important platform for exporters to meet potential clients, develop existing relationships and showcase the best of British products to a global audience.
Click right to download our 2020 planner.
AHDB Brussels office
Conveniently located in the heart of Europe, we provide political insights and intelligence on technical and trade-related issues at the global level.
The presence of the European institutions makes Brussels one of the most important decision-making centres in the world. In their wake, NGOs, consultancies, national representations, media, and think tanks, among others, have set up shop in the Belgian capital turning it into an International Hub.
Established 30 years ago, AHDB Brussels office has a strong network of contacts amongst Brussels-based European and International stakeholders. With an extensive EU public affairs expertise and a thoroughly understanding of the EU decision-making process, the Brussels team provides 1st hand information and analysis of EU policies.
Following the UK’s decision to exit the EU, we have been closely monitoring the Brexit negotiations and will keep on supporting farmers’ competitiveness and resilience by flagging up the opportunities but also potential concerns for our levy-payers.
In a rapidly changing world, establishing new partnerships and keeping ahead of international policy developments will be vital. The multilingual Brussels team will keep on facilitating dialogue and mutual understanding between the UK and its key trading partners.
AHDB France office
The AHDB France office in Fontainebleau is the European hub for AHDB. Main European markets covered by the French office include Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Poland, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal and Spain.
The objective of AHDB France is to add value to UK livestock products through Quality Marks and brands such as St George which is actively promoted in French supermarkets. Marketing activities are designed to support and develop these brands in each of the European markets.
AHDB France also coordinates the €10 million European lamb campaign supported by the European Commission. The campaign covers the UK, France, Germany and Ireland until December 2020. The French office also monitors activities in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North African countries.
As part of our Market Intelligence service we also provide monthly data on UK exports: