UK signs export agreement with Russia worth £80m

A landmark deal could see British beef and lamb exported to Russia once again, following the lift of a strict ban enforced in 1996.

Russia banned the import of British red meat following the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the UK in the late 1990s. Now, however, Defra has said that BSE controls in this country had become so tight, the disease had “virtually disappeared”.

The deal with Russia, which was actually decided in the summer and officially announced today, is expected to be worth more than £80m to the British red meat industry over the next three years.

In response to the announcement, environment secretary Owen Paterson praised British food and its global recognition. Paterson explained that the British industry had rigorous production standards and was renowned for its reliable traceability.

He said: “This deal is further evidence of international confidence in what British producers have to offer. Our food exports are booming, recently topping £18bn a year, and this Government is doing all it can to open up markets abroad.”

Eblex has estimated the deal to be worth up to £115m to the red meat industry over the next three years.

Head of trade development at Eblex Peter Hardwick explained that beef exports were expected to go ahead in the new year from just a small number of plants.

According to Hardwick, both Eblex and Defra had been working together to address the long-standing ban on British beef and the two organisations played host to a delegation of Russian vets earlier this year.
 
Hardwick said: “Russia remains one of the largest global importers of beef and the potential for beef exports there is enormous. We welcome the official political announcement, but are not surprised as the technical decision to lift the ban had already been made.”
 
Currently the UK government is awaiting written confirmation and full details of the deal from Russian officials. A Defra spokeswoman told Meatinfo.co.uk that details of the agreement were still to be finalised and more information should be available in the next few weeks.

The significance of the agreement has been likened to another from earlier this year, which saw the government secure a £50m contract to export British pork to China.

The meat export market provides huge revenue for the UK and, in 2011, fresh and frozen beef and veal exports were worth £438.1m, while fresh and frozen sheep meat exports were worth £381.6m.

Related News:

> Russian visit raises hopes for export access

> Opening of Russian market to breeding cattle 'unlikely' to happen fast

> Eblex export conference shines spotlight on Africa

> Hong Kong opens up to bone-in-beef

Keywords:

My Account

Spotlight

Most read

Social

For the third year running, a grain fed cow won the World Steak Challenge. What do you think produces the best beef?