UK market opportunities for Australia

The Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UK FTA) was signed on 17 December 2021 and will open up new opportunities for Australian red meat exports after it enters into force, anticipated in the second half of 2022.

In Q1 2022, MLA conducted three new research studies to clarify and better understand the opportunities for Australian red meat in the UK market. A summary of the research was created for stakeholders to optimise the timely sharing, adoption and impact of the insights.

The key insight take-outs:

  • The UK has a large and growing middle class that prioritises meat safety and integrity, high spending on food and foodservices, enjoys red meat and forecast to increase red meat imports.
  • While UK retail has long run a campaign to ‘buy British’, consumers and trade are positively predisposed to Australian red meat, an affinity based on our shared culture and history.
  • Australia’s presence in the market has been limited to-date by EU market access restrictions. With Brexit and the A-UK FTA, raising awareness of the strengths of Australian red meat attributes – particularly safety, integrity, quality and taste – and production systems is the first step.
  • Sustainability concerns are growing among consumers and will need to be addressed as part of Australia’s red meat credentials.
  • The market is used to lean red meat of variable quality, presenting opportunities across all tiers for Australian quality consistency underpinned by MSA, as well as opportunities for Australian premium and grainfed product.

The a summary of the research has been provided to over 80 exporters so far and to numerous government partners, including the Australian High Commission in London.

Stephen Edwards has been appointed as MLA’s Business Manager. Stephen was previously MLA’s North America Regional Manager and has held a number of different senior management roles in industry. Stephen is currently connecting with exporters, prior to moving to the UK later in the year.


The National Tribune

Parliament urged to reject Australia deal

National Beef Association chief executive Neil Shand has called on Parliament to reject the Australia trade deal in a bid to force the Government back into negotiations.

Speaking to Farmers Guardian after appearing before the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) committee this week, Mr Shand said while he believed the ‘horse may have bolted’ on the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA), there was hope for a better arrangement for farmers if Parliament threw out the deal.

Industry groups have already raised concerns over the scrutiny of trade agreements, which is governed by the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act (CRAG). Under CRAG rules, if a trade deal is tabled in Parliament, and MPs do not vote against it, it is automatically ratified. If MPs do vote against the deal, Ministers can re-table it and the Commons has 21 days to delay the process again, with this cycle able to go on indefinitely.

“We would urge Parliament not to vote the deal through and go back and re-negotiate on better terms,” Mr Shand said.

“While there may be benefits to the UK economy, there is no benefit to British beef whatsoever. They [the Government] need to learn that by rushing to secure a deal, mistakes have been made.”



by Jane Thynne / Farmers Guardian

NZ Red Meat Sector Achieves Record Exports During 2021

New Zealand’s red meat sector exports reached $10 billion in 2021 despite the disruption caused by COVID-19, according to an analysis by the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

The exports represented a nine per cent increase on 2020. The value of red meat and co-products exported in December 2021 was also up 22 per cent year on year, at just over $1 billion.

Sirma Karapeeva, chief executive of MIA, said the sector had worked tirelessly in the face of ongoing global logistical challenges to continue to achieve the best possible results for farmers, the 25,000 people working in the industry and for the New Zealand economy.

“Despite all the disruptions and labour shortages, we were able to make the most of the global demand for red meat and generate record export revenue.

“The sector is continuing to perform for New Zealand in the most difficult conditions. However, supply chain challenges will significantly disrupt exports for some time to come and we do not yet know what impact that will have on the Easter chilled trade.

“This illustrates very clearly how critical it is for the industry to have access to sufficient labour including overseas migrants to capture the greatest market value and support the jobs of thousands of hard-working Kiwis.”


Overall, both sheepmeat and beef exports increased by five per cent and nine per cent year-on-year respectively, with both worth more than $4 billion for the year. Co-products exports also increased by 19 per cent, to almost $2 billion.

Red meat exporters have responded swiftly to adapt to rapidly-changing logistics environments – for instance, by converting chilled product to frozen, when needed, to address risks in the disrupted supply chain, says Ms Karapeeva.

While chilled sheepmeat exports to the UK dropped by 42 per cent in December, to the lowest volume in 25 years, frozen sheepmeat exports to the UK increased by 95 per cent.

Ms Karapeeva said that while there has been some softening in Chinese demand for sheepmeat from the previous high levels, prices in China have remained strong.

Overall sheepmeat export volumes to China dropped by 15 per cent in the fourth quarter. However, the value of sheepmeat exports to China increased by three per cent in the same period.

China remained the largest overall importer for the quarter (41 per cent), followed by the US (20 per cent), the UK (4 per cent) and Japan (4 per cent).

Lamb puts Australia back on the map

Meat & Livestock Australia’s highly anticipated Australian lamb summer campaign is back in a new TV commercial that celebrates Australia reuniting with the rest of the world after years of isolation.

An Australian tradition, the annual lamb campaigns have built a strong legacy of highly topical advertising and thought-provoking creative content, which continue to generate widespread conversation and subsequent publicity for Australian lamb. The campaign also encourages Lamb purchases when shoppers are making their key protein choice across retail and food service environments.

Building on the ‘Share the Lamb’ brand platform, the six-week integrated campaign reflects upon how Australia has become isolated from the rest of the world due to strict international border closures during the pandemic.

MLA Domestic Market Manager, Graeme Yardy, said the advert was a reminder that Australia is a country not to be forgotten and we see heart-warming reunions as returning travellers make their way back to sunnier climates and lamb barbies.

“Each year the ‘Share the Lamb’ brand gives us a great opportunity to showcase how the unmistakeable flavour and aroma of lamb brings Aussie’s together, even through the very toughest of times. In 2021 we were all about breaking down state borders, but this year we’re ready to finally open back up to the rest of the world, and what better way to issue the invite than with tasty Australian Lamb,” Mr Yardy said.


Farm Weekly

China trade bans spread to big lamb exporters

Chinese trade sanctions have spread to lamb with two of Australia’s biggest exporters effectively banned from the industry’s biggest market.

China is refusing to accept sheep meat from Australian Lamb Company and JBS Brooklyn after they were closed for short periods because of COVID-19 outbreaks.

The lamb and sheepmeat trade with China – worth almost $780 million in 2019-20 – joins beef, barley, wine, seafood, timber and coal on the growing list of Australian commodities targeted as relations between Beijing and the Morrison government continue to deteriorate.

Those relations hit a low last week when a senior Chinese official circulated a doctored image of an Australian soldier slitting the throat of an Afghan boy holding a lamb.

The Australian Lamb Company, which employs about 600 people at Colac, and the JBS Brooklyn plant near Port Melbourne have been reopened for months with no infections but remain shut out of China.

China has not imposed import sanctions on United States abattoirs hit by COVID-19 and is reopening to abattoirs in countries such as Brazil and Argentina which have high rates of infection.



by Brad Thompson