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. However, the industry is constantly under economic pressure and export provides an opportunity to balance domestic cut preference by selling those products that do not have a strong market at home. For example, the domestic consumer has high demand for pork loin but low demand for liver. Exports often enable greater carcass utilisation, adding significant value to the UK agriculture sector.

Market identification

Market intelligence, combined with horizon scanning exercises and unique relationship with industry, allow AHDB to identify emerging and priority markets, thus enabling the market access team to focus its work on gaining access to these potential markets.  This focused approach is all the more important and recognises that gaining access to new market is a gradual process, often taking several years.

Market access work

AHDB work is crucial in securing entry to new markets.  This is achieved through close partnership with government, in particular DefraFood Standards Agency (FSA) and Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and the equivalent authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and industry, including the UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP), a government/industry working group specifically for market access in the red meat 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, supporingt inward/outward mission visits and maintaining specimen EHC documents; www.ukecp.com

International Export Events

Our Export Team are focussed on developing international markets for British exporters, actively engaging with key supply chain participants in a number of markets.  Attending leading global trade fairs is a key area of work. AHDB host British exporters on their pavilions providing an important platform for exporters to meet potential clients and foster existing relationships. Trade Fairs provide a great opportunity to show the best of British Products to a global audience.

Please see the below link to the events our livestock team are attending at in 2019:

Download exports events year planner

International offices

Conveniently located in the heart of Europe, we provide political insights and intelligence on technical and trade-related issues at 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.

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 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.

AHDB European export contacts and websites

Contact: Irene Watson - watson@ibs-ltd.gr

Contact: John Schilder - jschilder@greenseedgroup.nl

Contact: Luis Garcialg@greenseed.pt

Contact: Susana Morris - susana.morris@ahdb.org.uk

Website: www.carnivorosgourmet.es

Contact: Rémi Fourrier - remi.fourrier@ahdbfrance.fr

Website: www.ilovemeat.fr

International consumer insight

Our Consumer and Retail Insight team review and monitor consumer behaviour internationally. The aim of this international research is to obtain a better understanding of the shopper and retail environment in key export markets.

Behaviours and motivations to purchase differ as we cross the globe; cultures and context vary greatly, even in the age of globalisation.

Our Horizon report on International Consumer Buying behaviour looks at what is important to the consumer and how we can use this to differentiate our products from our competitors. The report provides a good starting point in discovering the work the team have done on international markets

Country profiles (pork)

We have produced a series of country profiles for the top 10 UK pig meat markets outlining demographic, economic, trade and consumption statistics.

In addition, you can access a map to show export volumes for pork and pig meat products based upon the latest UK HMRC trade data.

View our export map and top 10 UK international markets

Country analysis

Country analysis, for the most likely prospects for red meat outside the UK at least, was produced in our Horizon Report - ‘Meat and dairy – our prospects in the global marketplace’.

You can download the report below.


Page 41 in the appendix of the Horizon Report below contains a list of tariff rates, for products that the UK exports to the EU, and therefore would be likely to face in trade with 3rd countries with which it has no preferential access.

Trade data

As part of our Market Intelligence service we also provide monthly data on UK exports:

Pig meat Beef and lamb Dairy Cereals & oilseeds

Current market priorities for export agreement include Taiwan (pork), Japan (beef and Lamb), China (beef and Lamb), USA (beef and Lamb) and Mexico (pork).


Recent success include approval from the Philippines for beef, lamb, pork and poultry, Saudi Arabia for sheepmeat, broadened approval for Hong Kong, approval of 2 new pork sites to including trotters by China and the lifting of the UK beef export ban to China.