HL Deb 16 October 2002 vol 639 cc56-7WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps they are taking to start and increase British meat and livestock exports, following the removal of worldwide bans; and what funds are available for promoting such exports. [HL5792]

Lord Whitty

Exports of meat, meat products, livestock and genetic material can only take place with health certification which meets the importing country's requirements or, in the case of EU member states, which meets EU harmonised conditions. Health certification is in place for exports to EU member states and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is working closely with the industry, including through the export certification user groups, to identify priority non-EU markets and to persuade the authorities in those countries to lift remaining restrictions. Defra officials have been active in persuading overseas authorities to accept UK exports again by corresponding with veterinary authorities overseas and have arranged for British embassies and high commissions to make representations and to follow up correspondence. In co-operation with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, through our network of British posts overseas, we have also launched a lobbying exercise of all host governments which continue to maintain a ban on British beef, meat and animal products. We have been, and will continue, supporting our livestock companies and associations at international trade shows and have arranged inward missions of Ministers and officials. We are devoting considerable resources to reopening markets and will continue to do so.

Defra is also working closely with the industry to promote British meat, products and livestock exports at trade fairs and will have a presence at several overseas shows this year. Of the £2.5 million made available by Defra during 2001–02 for the foot and mouth disease recovery plan, some £750,000 was used by Food From Britain to promote and build exports of food, including meat and meat products. During the current year, of a further £500,000 provided for rebuilding the export market, around £350,000 will be used specifically for meat and meat products. The Meat and Livestock Commission, Defra's non-departmental public body responsible for promoting British meat and meat products at home and abroad, is very active assisting meat exporters to re-establish markets, especially in continental Europe.

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