New market for UK lamb another step in the right direction

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently confirmed that the amended ‘small ruminant rule’ will come into force on 3rd January 2022 which will allow UK lamb to enter the US market after decades of restrictions.

It is predicted that this will supply a market of more than 300 million people and be worth £37 million over the first five years (£7.4 million per year) for the UK industry. According to Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales’ (HCC) market research, it could include “a significant demand for high-quality lamb cuts.”

During the first nine months of 2021 alone, the UK exported a total of £303 million worth of lamb, £288 million (95 percent) of which was to the European Union (EU).

Given the statistics, the FUW has long maintained the importance of frictionless free trade between the UK and EU for agricultural commodity markets, and highlighted the same point in response to the opening up of the Japanese market for UK producers in January 2019 which was predicted to be worth £52 million for lamb over five years (£10.4 million per year).

While the opening up of such markets for agricultural products is of course welcomed, the financial benefit to the UK red meat industry is negligible when compared with the potential impacts of free trade agreements with countries such as Australia and New Zealand and the possibility of a trade war with the EU if the Northern Ireland Protol is breached.

The FUW continues to urge the UK Government to not lose sight of the importance of maintaining free trade with the EU while negotiating and focussing on new trade agreements elsewhere.