Farmers’ transatlantic quest to reverse British meat export ban

THE LEADER of Britain’s largest group of farmers is holding talks with senior US officials in Washington to ramp up efforts to reopen exports of beef and lamb from the UK.

National Farmers' Union president Meurig Raymond.  Pic: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
National Farmers' Union president Meurig Raymond. Pic: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Amid depressed farm gate prices for commodities across Europe this year, the farming industry is seeking new markets for homegrown produce.

Trade of British beef and lamb to the US has been banned since the 1990s mad cow disease outbreak and progress to reverse the action has been slow.

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In a fresh attempt to hurry along a reversal of the ban, National Farmers’ Union president Meurig Raymond is leading a UK delegation over the Atlantic. The group is scheduled to meet with the EU ambassador to the US, the president of the American Farm Bureau Federation and representatives of US trade bodies and US Congress.

A number of other key subjects such as EU-US trade talks and food safety standards are also on the agenda.

Pembrokeshire farmer Mr Raymond said: “It is essential that the NFU takes part in discussions that could potentially open up new markets for our farmers in this country, including re-introducing the opportunity for our livestock farmers to sell into the sizeable US market and expanding opportunities for growing our dairy product exports further.

“Efforts are underway to resume exports, but progress, especially on lamb has been slow. I will meet senior officials to press for progress and promote the quality of our excellent products.

“At the same time, this visit is a chance for us to highlight the world-class welfare standards that set us apart from the rest of the world and that must be recognised in future trade deals.”