The US is poised to begin importing British lamb and beef 20 years after trade was cut off at the height of the BSE scandal.
Speaking at the opening of the National Sheep Association (NSA) show in Malvern, Worcestershire, farming minister George Eustice confirmed the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published proposals to relax import restrictions that could generate an extra £35m for the UK economy.
It could open the door for British red meat to be back on US dinner tables in 2017, assuming a 60-day consultation period supports the view that the UK meets US food safety and animal health standards.
NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said the move presented “a real opportunity” for the sector. “It is very encouraging that the USA is interested in opening its doors. Lamb sales in the USA have dropped over the years, as a result of a falling domestic production base, and NSA would like to see British lamb exported and promoted to boost consumption.”
Eustice said the Government would look to secure more export opportunities in the US for British produce as well seeking deals in other countries around the world.