In a roundtable discussion, organised by levy body Eblex and held at the Anuga Trade Fair in Cologne, Germany, the UK’s Environment Secretary Owen Paterson met with key figures from the meat industry to discuss government support for industry exports.
One of the key issues under discussion included the need to focus on opening up the Chinese market to UK beef and lamb products. Exporters said that while the process was a long one, it now required engagement from the highest level with the Chinese authorities to make significant progress.
Pig meat export issues were also discussed in relation to China, in particular the need to reach agreement on an expanded range of cuts, which could boost export volumes to that market by as much as 40%.
Paterson said: “I want to work with the industry to open up more trade and tap into emerging markets, which is why I’ve just launched the International Export Action Plan. I also plan to visit China in November to increase trade for UK meat.”
AHDB chairman John Godfrey, who hosted the roundtable, said: “It is very reassuring to see the high level of both interest and expertise the Environment Secretary has in the export arena and the fact that he spent two days at Anuga is testament to this.
“We’ve had some very positive developments as far as red meat exports are concerned in recent years, particularly through the work of the UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP). However, our ambition now is to step these efforts up to the next level, which can only be done with further government support.
“The commitment of the Environment Secretary to ensure action is taken on gaining access to certain key markets will be universally welcomed by the industry.”
At the event, the Environment Secretary committed to holding a follow-up meeting early next year in order to update the industry on the progress that has been made so far.