Welsh Lamb makes play for US market

Negotiations are under way to open up exports of Welsh Lamb to the USA, which could be worth £20 million a year to the Welsh meat industry.

Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) said that Defra environment minister Owen Paterson is in Washington this week, discussing the issue with US officials.

The visit follows an HCC diplomatic mission last January, led by the Welsh Government’s minister for natural resources and food Alun Davies. HCC market development manager Laura Pickup said: “We had a series of highly positive meetings with leading officials from the United States Department of Agriculture and other North American meat organisations during our mission to America.

“This week’s visit by Mr Paterson will reinforce the message that we delivered earlier this year. The potential rewards for Wales are enormous because HCC estimates that PGI Welsh Lamb exports to the USA could be worth £20m a year to our farmers and processing companies.”

HCC hopes that restrictions on PGI Welsh Lamb exports will be lifted as part of the EU-US trade deal currently being negotiated. HCC’s communications manager Alan Morris said that it looked like the Americans had changed their mind about the ban, which had been put in place after fears over transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSEs) in sheep. He explained that research from the World Organisation for Animal Health showed there was no risk to humans, so progress has been made on the block on Welsh Lamb exports.

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