US agrees to take a bite of beef exports

Monday, 9 March 2020

Beef from the UK could soon be heading to America after government officials agreed the next step of an export deal worth around £66 million over the first five years.

The US has today agreed equivalence of standards on the UK’s disease control measures following a three-week inspection last summer. It means that after the final administrative details are carried out, beef can be shipped to the US.

It comes after an ongoing process of negotiations between the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) in partnership with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), APHA, FSA, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) and other organisations including UKECP.

The inspections in August 2019 included tours of five beef sites, four pork and lamb, as well as several laboratories. It came hot on the heels of a visit by delegates from the US sheep industry, organised by AHDB.

AHDB International Market Development Director Dr Phil Hadley said: “This is another fantastic boost for industry. Today’s announcement is a crucial step in our ambitions to gain market access for our beef and lamb, to go with our existing pork trade, to the all-important US market.

“We have worked collaboratively with industry and government to get this agreement and we will continue to work to get this partnership over the line and to see our products in the US market. Once the final administrative details are carried out, commercial trade will begin.”

The inspection in the summer was part financed from the £2 million fund of AHDB red meat levies ring-fenced for collaborative projects which is managed by Britain’s three meat levy bodies: AHDB, HCC and QMS.

The fund is an interim arrangement while a long-term solution is sought on the issue of levies being collected at point of slaughter in England for animals which have been reared in Scotland and Wales.