Beef exports from the UK to Russia were on the agenda during Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to Moscow this week.
The issue of lifting the remaining restrictions to secure access to the Russian market for UK beef producers and processors was discussed with Russian officials during the trip and it is hoped this will provide a springboard for finalising an agreement which could see the UK benefiting from more than £100m in trade.
Russia is one of the biggest importers of beef at more than 600,000 tonnes per year, and it is estimated that, should the ban on UK beef be lifted, it could be worth £115m in the first three years. Currently, the UK is unable to benefit from trading with Russia due to a continued BSE-related ban.
EBLEX has been working closely with DEFRA to emphasise the importance of the Russian market. Through the Export Certification Partnership with DEFRA, it has placed Russia as a top priority for market access and the lifting of import restrictions. EBLEX has also called for the issue to be raised at ministerial level.
Peter Hardwick, head of trade development at EBLEX, said: “We’ve been applying pressure to raise the profile of the issue and are pleased to see it’s been raised at such a high level. Russia is a very important market but one that we simply don’t have access to at the moment. There are several other EU member states with higher incidence of BSE than us that already have trade relationships with Russia. As such, the opening of the Russian market is a priority in EBLEX’s export strategy to secure new markets and optimise returns.”
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