AHDB Meat Export Conference
The 13th annual AHDB Meat Exports Conference “Preparing for Brexit” looked at the future challenges and opportunities in foreign markets.
The international meat trade is an important economic sector which is already subject to trade barriers and tariffs outside the EU. And although the UK is some way off an agreement with the European Union, the conference considered a number of practical scenarios likely to challenge meat exporters over the next few years.
George Eustice - MP, Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
- The majority of agriculture sectors in the UK could benefit from opportunities to do new trade deals with third countries.
- The introduction of a free trade agreement with the EU is a priority for the Government.
- Farmers are to be reassured that they could be protected from lower standard imports such as hormone treated US beef in FTAs.
- Livestock product exports are worth £2.4 billion to the UK a year – the second largest food and drink export after spirits.
- Due to the high welfare and sustainable production systems in this country, there is a need to market quality beef, lamb and pork from the UK as a premium product.
- It is important to increase the speed at which new markets are opened and access to existing markets improved.
- Brexit provides the opportunity to develop regulatory and policy measures that fit with the UK’s unique needs and strengths.
- However it’s important to recognise that the UK doesn’t have the proverbial blank piece of paper and, in making new policy, will have to follow the WTO rule book.
- Currently a lot of farmers are following the ‘wait and see’ approach. It’s now important for farmers to look at the challenges and opportunities that might arise and prepare for different scenarios.
- China’s rapidly growing middle class has opened more opportunities for imported meat since 2014.
- E-commerce has increased the demand for imported frozen meat, with some retailers offering same-day delivery.
- Consumers are turning to imported meat due to problems with the lack of food safety in China.
- With nearly 80% of the middle class population eating out at lunch, the Chinese catering market is the biggest user of imported premium meat.
- The export industry could be put on the back foot if the UK fails to carry over existing free trade agreements with third countries or agree transitional arrangements with the EU.
- There is a huge risk of disruption to supply in the 12 months leading up to Brexit because of uncertainty over access conditions.
- Three possible models for an interim agreement could be: limited zero-tariff agreements for goods only, an EEA-type agreement with or without EFTA membership, or a new agreement to remain in the customs union.
- Currently around 3.3m containers go to and from the EU each year.
- Stakeholders need to be aware of post-Brexit implications as ferry terminals do not possess facilities for routine customs/ port health controls demanded by the EU, nor is there spare land to build these.
- Post Brexit, current trade volumes will not be maintained if conventional border controls are imposed.
- Currently working on a £5.6m campaign, co-funded by the EU to inspire consumers between 25 and 49 to cook lamb more often.
- Marketing through multiple channels including bespoke websites, traditional press and YouTube videos including this French parachuting video.
- Marketing activity continues in 2017 with activity including food trucks, butcher training and social networking planned.