Farming News - NSA welcomes the lifting of a ban on British lamb imports by USA

NSA welcomes the lifting of a ban on British lamb imports by USA

The National Sheep Association (NSA) is welcoming the United States lifting its ban on imports of British lamb, saying it will help maximise trade opportunities for UK sheep farmers.

With a ban on both British lamb and beef imports to the US in place since 1989, due to concerns around BSE, NSA believes the announcement will increase demand for British sheepmeat within the US.

NSA welcomes the measures to boost agri-food exports unveiled this weekNSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker comments: We are delighted about the announcement that the ban is to be lifted – the UK sheep industry has been waiting for this for many years.

“The sheep industry in the UK has clear potential to grow further but any expansion must be market and demand led. Today’s announcement helps the supply and demand dynamics to support a strong market and potential further growth. The UK is the third largest exporter of sheepmeat globally, telling us that we are good at producing sheepmeat and that our supply chains are efficient and able to deliver. 

“This creates another opportunity for our industry to maximise trade opportunities and we have always seen the US as being a potentially important market. After the domestic market, which takes 60 – 65% of UK production, the EU is still our largest export market and is on our doorstep. However, access is more difficult than it was when we were part of the EU. It’s essential to maintain EU access but is also important to work on any market that gives us future potential.”

Mr Stocker continues to note the wider opportunities presented by the lifting of the ban: “We shouldn’t expect to see any sudden surge in volumes going to the US, but we do know there is strong demand for UK sheep genetics – semen and embryos. Many British sheep breeds are in the US but are numerically too small to have a strong gene pool so the demand for our genetics is strong.

“In addition, with sheep meat consumption being very low in the US we believe we can help stimulate interest in lamb and quality mutton through exporting high quality British sheepmeat that reinspires interest in the product and helps the US sheep industry to build further. We also believe we can tap into British heritage that is appreciated in the US through our many breeds and their connections to our heritage landscapes and culture.

“I see this opportunity as helping to build consumption of one of the most nutritious, tasty and sustainable forms of meat production in the world. We want to see investment into the US market but would also like to see greater investment in Asia and the Middle East regions.”