A shot in the arm

Amazingly, the last thing I expected to be writing in this issue was that the EU had lifted the export ban on the UK's livestock and meat industry.

However, lift it they have done, much to the surprise and delight of most in the industry. This news will come as a much-needed shot in the arm for an industry that has been left reeling after what can only be described as a rollercoaster ride throughout the month of August, traditionally known as the silly season!

Work will already be under way to

re-establish trade throughout our European markets and it would seem that a lot of the EU membership has taken something of a sympathetic view of the UK's plight - perhaps an element of "there, but for the grace of God, go I".

Just a few weeks before the foot-and-mouth (FMD) outbreak, I was over in France speaking to EBLEX staff and UK exporters about how the French market was beginning to open up to British beef. The overall view was one of optimism and enthusiasm, with years of hard work beginning to pay off.

Hopefully this FMD crisis will simply prove to be a temporary blip in those developments, but while the EU markets are looking fairly positive for a resumption of the UK's growing trade in exports, the rest of the world is not so straightforward.

Exports to third countries are unlikely to come back on-stream quite so quickly - an issue of great concern to the pig industry, which had built a healthy business on exports of offals to the Asian markets - and there is always the worry that trade negotiations could be used as a political football.

Hopefully that won't be the case and our industry can get back on its feet, dust itself off and return to what it does best.

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