Post-Brexit export strategy planned for Welsh meat
Published:  14 November, 2016

A ten-year Welsh red meat export strategy is in the works to maximise on global market opportunities for when the UK leaves the European Union. 

At Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales’ (HCC) annual conference in Bangor, Thursday 10 November, chairman Dai Davies discussed the importance of exports for brand building, industry sustainability and price stability. “HCC has overseen export growth from around £50 million at inception in 2003 to a record peak of £250 million two years ago,” he explained.

“We are now designing a comprehensive ten-year export strategy and I am seeking the government’s partnership in full to deliver these ambitious plans.”

Davies turned to Lesley Griffiths AM, cabinet secretary for environment and rural affairs, who also spoke at the conference entitled ‘Flying the Flag: Delivering excellence in the new economy’, for support. “The cabinet secretary can open doors for us, make the most of those markets where we have earned access and lead a global diplomatic drive that will help our expert team to secure many more customers in all four corners of the world.”

Despite uncertain times, Davies highlighted that the “unique taste and flavour” of PGI Welsh Beef and PGI Welsh Lamb products remains unchanged, with lamb playing a significant role in the image of the country.

“Welsh Lamb can fly the flag for Wales,” he said. “The Welsh Lamb brand is iconic and emblematic. I believe it can be the engine to help drive other Welsh exports. It can be our Scotch Whisky or champagne wine. It can help to raise our national profile, inspire and lead trade and export initiatives and help build a wider platform and broader reputation for the quality and excellence of Welsh workmanship and products.”

He told delegates that HCC is actively involved in helping Welsh Lamb exports and involved in discussions about the exports to at least 45 countries including Canada, Hong Kong and Norway. Despite this, many of these new or emerging markets are a long way behind HCC’s other markets within the EU, which currently makes up over 90% of overseas trade.

“With such an imbalanced trading dependency, especially on the Welsh Lamb account, it is vital that we defend and extend our markets in Europe,” Davies concluded. “We cannot go backwards and we cannot stand still. We cannot afford to be excluded or restricted in our future export trade from these crucial key markets and I am very grateful to see the first minister strongly advocating a tariff-free Brexit within a competitive, fair trade agreement. He, and the environment and rural affairs cabinet secretary, will have our full support as an industry for their efforts to achieve these crucial aims.”