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

Brexit fails to deliver for small abattoirs

The EU imposition of veterinary inspection fees, for example, has been widely touted as having a damaging effect on the sector.

John Mettrick, who owns a small abattoir in Derbyshire and holds key positions in the Abattoir Sector Group and National Craft Butchers, told Farmers Guardian the Government was reluctant to diverge from EU law as Ministers fear this could be used as ‘an excuse’ for the bloc to ban UK exports.

He said: “We have been under the cosh from these EU regulations which saw abattoirs close, and we were told when we came out of the EU, we would be in control and we would be able to get rid of some of the regulations which have not been advantageous to small plants.

“We were told it would be great, but actually, it is worse. We are almost more beholden to EU regulation now we are out than when we were in.”

The UK has also been accused of ‘goldplating’ EU rules, by insisting any slaughterhouse which exceeds 1,000 livestock units in a year has full veterinary inspection, as opposed to delayed post-mortem inspection.

“Why would you go for full veterinary supervision when these businesses have been operating with part veterinary supervision, especially when we are short of vets?”




by Abi Kay / Farmers Guardian

Brexit: Lambs to the slaughter

  • Brexit talks have been passed back to negotiators, with little sign of progress from the UK and EU leadership, and with no deal getting worryingly close for exporters.
  • Sheep meat is one sector facing particularly high tariffs – put there to protect British and other European farmers, but now the UK will be outside the EU fortress.
  • Even with a tariff-free deal, there will be high extra costs for animal produce going to Europe, involving certification, queues and border checks.

Remember spring? If you were lucky enough to get out to somewhere rural, you probably saw some cute lambs a-gambolling.

Well, it’s not looking good for them now. They’ve put on some weight, and are less cute. Or they were. This has been the slaughtering season.

About a third of Scottish lamb goes for export, and 98% of that is to the European Union. French chefs highly value uplands-grazed lamb.

There’s a metaphor somewhere in there for the Brexit talks.

But for sheep farmers, this isn’t metaphor. This is their future. The average tariff on sheep meat is 48%. It is not a flat rate: instead, there’s a fee per kilo and a percentage of the value.

And the more it is butchered and processed, the higher the tariff on entering the European Union.

by Douglas Fraser