Red meat post-Brexit export plan outlined by HCC Chair

Nov 11 2016

A comprehensive ten-year red meat export strategy to optimise global market opportunities in the post-Brexit economy was advocated by the Chairman of Hybu Cig Cymru-Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) at the red meat body’s annual conference in Bangor yesterday (Thursday 10th).

Dai Davies said that Welsh exports were vital for brand building, industry sustainability and price stability and added value to the whole supply chain. He commended HCC’s track record. “HCC has overseen export growth from around £50m at inception in 2003 to a record peak of £250m two years ago,” he said.

“We are now designing a comprehensive ten year export strategy and I am seeking the Government’s partnership in full to deliver these ambitious plans,” he told industry delegates attending the HCC Conference “Flying the Flag: Delivering Excellence In The New Economy” at Parc Menai.

Mr. Davies sought the personal support of Lesley Griffiths AM, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs who spoke at the conference, as the figurehead for this ambitious export programme. “The Cabinet Secretary can open doors for us, make the most of those markets where we have earned access and lead a global diplomatic drive that will help our expert team to secure many more customers in all four corners of the world.”

Mr. Davies highlighted the commercial strengths of Wales’ PGI red meat products. “Although we meet today against a background of inevitable uncertainty over future trade arrangements in a post-referendum Britain, two things remain firmly unchanged and unchallengeable; the uncontested excellence and the unique taste and flavour of Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef products, and the Welsh Lamb brand’s crucial importance to Wales and the image and reputation of Wales.”

Welsh Lamb remained the jewel in Wales’ crown; “Welsh Lamb can “Fly the Flag” for Wales.  The Welsh Lamb brand is iconic and emblematic. I believe it can be the engine to help drive other Welsh exports. It can be our Scotch Whisky or Champagne wine. It can help to raise our national profile, inspire and lead trade and export initiatives and help build a wider platform and broader reputation for the quality and excellence of Welsh workmanship and products,” he said.

He said HCC was now actively involved in assisting the exporting of Welsh Lamb, or involved in meaningful discussions about exporting Welsh Lamb, to at least 45 countries right across the globe from Canada to Hong Kong, from North Africa to Norway. However, many of these new or emerging markets were a very long way behind HCC’s leading, mature and reliable markets in the European Union, which currently accounts for more than 90 per cent of our overseas trade.

“With such an imbalanced trading dependency, especially on the Welsh Lamb account, it is vital that we defend and extend our markets in Europe,” said Mr. Davies. “We cannot go backwards and we cannot stand still. We cannot afford to be excluded or restricted in our future export trade from these crucial key markets and I am very grateful to see the First Minister strongly advocating a tariff-free Brexit within a competitive, fair trade agreement. He, and the Environment and Rural Affairs Cabinet Secretary, will have our full support as an industry for their efforts to achieve these crucial aims”.

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