Red meat processors prepare for US opportunities

While political discussions continue over potential transatlantic trade deals, red meat exporters, including representatives from the companies which own the three largest processing plants in Wales, have visited Washington DC to learn more about US regulations for beef and lamb imports.

Exports to the USA from Britain have not been permitted in recent years, however hopes were raised last year for a resumption of the potentially lucrative trade. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) undertook a consultation on bringing its animal health regulation into line with other countries.

The processors’ visit was organised by the UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP), of which Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) is a part, along with the equivalent red meat levy bodies for other parts of the UK.

HCC’s Export Market Development Executive Deanna Leven said; “The US market for lamb is potentially worth £20 million a year to the Welsh economy. There’s diplomatic work still to do to secure access, and it’s anticipated that US officials will undertake inspections of our facilities later this year.

“But it’s important to do everything we can to ensure that our industry is ready if we are allowed to resume exports. That’s why this visit was important; to help delegates understand Port of Entry requirements, US inspection procedures and testing regimes. HCC remains optimistic that, if we get market access for our high-quality PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef, that the product will find a ready market among American consumers.”