Defra Secretary George Eustice has claimed lamb exports to the EU will return to pre-Brexit levels in future.
British sheepmeat exports to the bloc have fallen by 25 per cent since the UK left the EU, with industry leaders blaming the sharp drop on non-tariff barriers such as paperwork and checks.
Last year, the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) warned UK meat exporters were having to spend an extra £1,000 to send a lorry through a port.
Smaller exporters, in particular, have struggled to handle the 29 different processes required to send meat to the continent.
Giving evidence to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee this week (February 1), Mr Eustice said he expected the trade to bounce back over the coming years.
“Things like salmon have actually seen an increase in their exports since we have left the European Union, driven by high demand for premium product,” he told the MPs.
“I think we will see a similar situation on our other major agricultural exports like lamb. There will be some impact because of the additional export processes which are required and the costs associated with that, but the big exports we rely on will resume just as Scottish salmon already has.”
But National Sheep Association (NSA) chief executive Phil Stocker questioned whether this would be the case.
“[Trade] will never return to the way it used to be, and seeing the effect border control posts and export health certificate controls are having on exporters, I do not see our volumes to the EU returning to where they were,” he said.
By Abi Kay / Farmers Guardian
Read full article Share on twitter