Global Outlook

The European Union, no less, could well be self-sufficient in beef in 2010. Divine surprise? Probably not if you, like me, follow the meat export scene.

Of course, we export mostly low-value items while we import mostly steak, but exports to Third Countries are booming and, for July and August, comfortably exceeded imports with more than 40,000t shipped on a monthly basis.

We may also be heading for a record year for EU exports of pork and the zone is maintaining its position as the largest exporter. The dynamic European meat sector is making a farce of doom-merchants who, for years, have promised its demise. Demand is up in various parts of the world. Processors and traders have responded well and speedily to the challenge of shipping products to all corners of the globe and overcoming trade barriers.

What about the UK? Here again, there is plenty of good news. This month, the Carlisle office for export health certification to Third Countries admitted the demand for health certificates for meat and dairy products is running at record levels. Not only are we exporting large volumes to the Far East, with the Chinese market reopening, shipments to African countries are rising fast. We are also working hard to open new markets. Although it would be unwise to speak of a boom, we are talking in terms of at least healthy growth.

By the end of August, pork exports were running 26% up, beef exports 21% up and lamb down 1% a good performance on a background of sharply reduced production. A sign of things to come? Many trading houses who only dealt with meat imports from Third Countries are now looking at export opportunities as margins and the availability of New Zealand lamb and South American beef have declined.

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