Little uptake of EU pig meat quotas

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There are a large number of EU pig meat import quotas but uptake by supplying countries is very low which is unlike all the other meat sectors.

Most of the quotas were incorporated into the Uruguay Round of GATT, now the WTO, but some quotas have been agreed subsequently and AHDB analysis indicates that they now amount to just over 135,000 tonnes in the last full year. Yet only 4,100 tonnes of quota was utilised including minimal uptake of the quota for “boned loins and hams”.

Figures for the EU indicate that pig meat imports (excluding offals) in 2016 amounted to just 10,600 tonnes with Chile the largest supplier followed by the United States. Of this, the UK imported 1,700 tonnes, a figure that has hardly changed in the last three years.

The EU has a number of restrictions whether it be production practices or just market access issues that prevent pig meat imports from a number of markets. The attractiveness of the EU market has also tended to diminish not helped by exchange rate movements. For the UK, even as a result of Brexit and hence the possibility of FTAs or improved market access for exporting countries, a large upsurge in imports in least in the medium term seems unlikely.

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Leo Colby, Consultant

leo.colby@ahdb.org.uk