UK meat export success in first half of 2017

UK exports of beef, lamb and pork broke the £500m mark in the first six months of 2017, an 18% rise year-on-year.

HMRC figures show there has also been a 21% increase in offal exports, taking the total value of shipments from the three sectors to £582m.

Exports to non-EU countries also rose, with the Asian markets continuing to offer exciting opportunities for beef, lamb and pork, says AHDB.

See also: China: How the UK’s food can appeal to consumers

Lamb has been a star performer, with total export volumes to both European Union and non-EU countries up 18% and valued at £178m. Exports of sheep meat to non-EU countries have doubled in 2017 so far.

In the first half of the year, beef exports to countries outside of Europe are up 45% year-on-year to almost 8,000 tonnes, while their value has risen 62% to £23.5m.

Against a background of relatively tight UK supplies, third-country pork exports rose by almost 4% in volume to 41,000 tonnes. More than half of this went to China where there has been a 6% rise in exports in the first half of the year, worth £24m.

“These latest figures paint a positive picture for the meat export industry,” said Jean-Pierre Garnier, AHDB’s head of exports.

“It is very encouraging to see an increase in exports to non-EU countries and a strong progression in value as this is an important area for our meat exports with the challenge of Brexit.

“AHDB recognises the importance of developing balanced international trade that does not rely solely on the EU, but we also cannot underestimate the importance of Europe as two-thirds of our meat exports are still destined for the EU.

“However, we understand the challenges that our meat industry faces and we must look at new exports deals and continue to work towards securing access to third countries.”

Key target markets such as Hong Kong and China have led the growth of exports to non-EU countries this year – with the latest data showing a four-fold increase in chilled beef exports to Hong Kong as well as a 91% rise in chilled lamb.

Non-EU exports are expected to rise even further following the recent announcement of a trade deal for pork access to China and access for UK beef to the Philippines.

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