Trade sectors encouraged to engage

Scottish agriculture minister Ross Finnie urged retailers, producers and processors to engage with each other so each could see the constraints the others were facing.

This he said would enable business to be more market-driven and enable industry to develop its own strategy rather than be driven by it.

Finnie also welcomed the return of exports, which prior to the ban exceeded €170m a year and praised the Scottish meat industry for the progress it was making in this area. "Within two months of market re-opening, we exported nearly €1.5m of Scotch beef."

He was eager to point out the UK remained committed to a WTO outcome despite the stalemate due to the breakdown in the last round of talks. "It was disappointing for the UK government but it remains committed to a freer market."

Finnie also addressed the issues surrounding disposal of animal by-products. He stressed the importance of calling for a review of the Animal By-Products Regulation and said he was fully supportive of the early amendment of the Waste Incineration Directive. Finnie said it was important for UK companies and government to contribute to the review by providing advice on compliance and on incineration and alternative uses. "We must ensure there is a level playing field in Europe." His comments follow lobbying by the processors for the UK to lift its ban on the use of tallow as fuel.

There was no sense, he said, in imposing regulatory burden as everyone had a collective responsibility to operate in ways that are sustainable.

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