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'Three Years of Uncertainty' for Meat Trade Post-Brexit

1 July 2016, at 6:00am

UK - Beef, sheep and pig meat exporters and other key industry stakeholders gathered in Warwickshire earlier this week for the 12th annual AHDB Meat Export Conference, and began discussions on how to maximise opportunities for meat exports in a post-Brexit world.

The Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board's chief executive Jane King described the referendum as a ‘game-changer’ for UK agriculture.

She said: “Although we cannot understate the importance of the EU single market for UK food businesses, AHDB already has a strong track record in developing markets outside the EU.

“This area of work will become ever more important once Brexit takes effect.”

AHDB head of livestock exports Jean-Pierre Garnier acknowledged challenges, but pointed to a positive future for exports in both EU and non-EU markets.

“Given Friday’s result, I anticipate there will be three years of rough seas and uncertainty for the UK meat trade,” he said.

“However, our core strengths and unique selling points, such as our natural production systems and the high quality and great taste of our products remain in place and, therefore, the long-term prospects are highly favourable, provided we manage a smooth transition.”

Delegates also heard from Karen Morgan, Agriculture Councillor at the British Embassy in Beijing, who spoke of the ‘Golden Era’ in UK-China relations. However, she reiterated that matching the expectations of the UK industry with the level of resource in China will be a key challenge moving forward.

“While there’s still a long way to go, negotiations to gain access for beef to the Chinese market have accelerated faster than expected,” she said.

“Steady progress is being made on getting pork processing plant approvals to broaden the number of plants and we are continuing to press for progress in the lucrative trotter market.”

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