Leap forward in export recovery

The livestock industry has taken a major leap forward in its battle to recover export markets lost because of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).

A campaign was launched by Defra, the British Pig Executive (BPEX) and the English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX) and, so far, 10 countries have agreed to re-open to trade with Britain.

The countries are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Phillippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and the USA. Hong Kong had already restarted trade with Britain.

BPEX and EBLEX export manager Jean-Pierre Garnier, said: "We are extremely pleased with the progress we have made.

"We are also in advanced discussions with 10 other key target markets, including China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the Ukraine, with visits from foreign veterinary teams planned in the near future.

"Veterinarians from overseas are genuinely impressed by the thoroughness of the UK approach to last year's FMD outbreak," added Garnier. "The positive results stemming from this programme provide a very good example of effective collaboration between Defra and the meat and livestock industries."

Trade within the EU restarted about three months ago and the latest agreements follow on from the declaration by the OIE on 19 February that the UK was FMD-free.