We work to increase access to new overseas markets and opportunities for UK producers.
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.
Grow your business through exports
We worked with the Department for International Trade on its ‘Grow your business through exports’ campaign. The campaign website opens doors for our farmer and processor products to a valuable and diverse global marketplace, by providing events, expertise and funding. Together we’re putting UK food on the world map.
We identify new markets
AHDB identifies emerging and priority markets, and produces online reports about its findings for producers and policy makers. In February 2023 we published Prospects for Agri-Food Exports, an analysis of the trading opportunities with Europe, Asia and North America; other world regions will be included by summer 2023.
This evidence informs the work of the Market Access team, enabling it to focus on the most promising markets. Gaining access to new markets is a gradual process, often taking several years.
AHDB helps UK producers secure entry to new markets. This is achieved through close partnership with the 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 the 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; gov.uk/export-health-certificates
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.
Some third countries require site-specific approval. This means that the exporter must obtain site-specific approval from the importing country and be listed before the export can start.
The table below lists some of the countries that require establishments to obtain site-specific approval before export. A link to the web page where the list of approved establishments is also provided.
Some importing countries may also require the approval of all sites in the food chain, including cold stores, whereas others only require the approval of the slaughter/cutting sites only. Several Third countries such as the Republic of South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and Canada only require the UK establishments to be listed on the Food Standards Agency before export begins.
It is important to check any requirement for an establishment to be listed on a third country website. Usually, this information can be found in the associated Notes for Guidance for that country at: gov.uk/export-health-certificates
United States (pork, beef)
South Korea (pork)
(Type GB in the top left input box and then press the magnifying glass button to get into the page - or the excel button to get a spreadsheet)
Japan (pork, beef, lamb)
Pork: Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information on establishments listed to export meat and meat products to Japan.
Which markets are we targeting?
Livestock markets in nine target countries are analysed in our 2023 report 'Market access prioritisation'.
Veterinary Attestation Numbers
From 13 December 2023, all farmers who produce livestock or livestock products destined for the food chain, and which may be exported to the European Union, will require proof of an annual veterinary visit.
This visit will generate a 20-digit Veterinary Attestation Number (VAN), issued by the practising vet, which must be included on movement licences.
Proof of participation in a relevant assurance scheme, such as Red Tractor, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and Farm Assured Welsh Livestock (FAWL), can also be used as proof of meeting the requirements, and farmers of species covered by these schemes do not require a separate VAN.
Farmers who are not assured but who are participating in the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway can obtain a VAN through their annual review visit.
This requirement applies to farm-to-slaughter and farm-to-processor movements only; farm-to-farm movement licences are not affected.
By conducting country analysis and creating international consumer insight reports, we improve our understanding of the emerging markets we want to target.
Our Consumer and Retail Insight team reviews and monitors consumer behaviour internationally. The aim of this 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. View the Horizon reports.
As part of our Market Intelligence service we also provide monthly data on UK exports:
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 attends global trade fairs to develop international markets for British exporters, actively engaging with key supply chain participants in several markets.
British exporters are hosted at these trade fairs on AHDB's pavilions. At trade fairs these exporters meet potential clients, develop existing relationships and showcase the best of British products to a global audience.
|Outward trade mission to Ghana and Cote d'lvoire||30 October–3 November 2023||Beef, Lamb, Pork||Awal Fuseini|
|Food and Hospitality China, Shanghai, China||8–10 November 2023||Dairy, Pork||Jonathan Eckley
|Food & Hotel Vietnam, Hanoi, Vietnam||21–23 November 2023||Dairy, Pork||Jonathan Eckley
|Saudi International Halal Expo, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia||21–23 November 2023||Lamb||Awal Fuseini|
|Winter Fancy Food, Las Vegas, USA||21–23 January 2024||Dairy||Lucy Randolph|
|Expo Carne, Monterrey, Mexico||6–8 February 2024||Pork||Susana Morris|
|Gulfood, Dubai, UAE||19–23 February 2024||Beef, Dairy, Lamb||Awal Fuseini
|Foodex, Tokyo, Japan||5–8 March 2024||Beef, Lamb, Pork||Susan Stewart|
|Annual Meat Conference, Nashville, USA||18–20 March 2024||Beef, Lamb, Pork||Susana Morris|
Meet the team
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.
The AHDB France office and team support the development and promotion of our exports of beef and lamb to this valuable and long-standing market. This involves the trade, foodservice and consumers to highlight the quality and taste of our products to drive purchase. The French office also monitors activities in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North African countries.