19 November 1999
NI wants special beef export status

NORTHERN IRELAND is asking the European Commission to give it a special dispensation to export beef-on-the-bone and possibly live cattle.

It is making the application on the grounds that the incidence of BSE in Northern Ireland is so low as to fall into the European Unions low-incidence category.

Just 11 cases have been confirmed in Northern Ireland in the past 12 months.

Peter Mandelson, the Northern Ireland secretary, is lending his support to the initiative.

He has already held one meeting with Nick Brown, the agriculture secretary, on the issue.