29 May 1998

June start for NIbeef trade

BEEF exports from Northern Ireland can resume from Monday (June 1), ending the global export ban imposed on the UK more than two years ago.

As predicted, the EU Commission lifted the ban on Wednesday after months of wrangling over the provinces certified-herd scheme.

"This is certainly a welcome development at a time when many beef producers in Northern Ireland have been facing financial ruin," said Trevor Lockhart of the Ulster Farmers Union.

But it is likely to be days, if not weeks, before any shipments leave Ulster. Mr Lockhart said that was because farmers and exporters had to meet stringent guidelines. Also, the two meat plants commissioned to start proceedings had to come to grips with a number of "mundane things" such as labelling.

&#8226 See also Business, page 23