ANALYSIS – Europe’s meat market will be less effected by Russia’s import ban than other food sectors, market analysts at the Livestock and Meat Commission are predicting.
While Russia is the EU’s second largest customer in value terms at ten per cent of the market, two of the main meat products to Russia – beef offal and pork – are unaffected by this month’s embargo.
Pork exports to Russia ceased back in February when Russia banned the product on African Swine Fever grounds. Meanwhile, current restrictions do not apply to beef offal.
LMC analysts said that, over recent years, Russian demand for beef offal and manufacturing beef has increased in particular, citing value processing cuts as the biggest loss to Europe's beef sector trade.
Specifically, the LMC outlined beef exports from Lithuania and Poland, together accounting for over half the value of EU beef shipments last year at over £60 million worth of £111.
On the issue of processing beef, an LMC spokesperson said: “The closure of this outlet has the potential to create issues for processors across Europe in finding alternative markets for this beef due to competition for contracts.”
New markets are most likely to be in the Middle East and Africa, extending east to China, Viet Nam and possibly the Philippines, the spokesperson added.
“The closure of the Russian market to EU exporters may provide other countries with the opportunity to fill the vacuum in Russian market providing they have market access and adequate supplies.
“As the market adjusts other opportunities may then emerge for EU produce in alternative markets.
“However EU exporters will have to compete with exporters from the US, Canada and Australia in accessing these markets who are all affected by the Russian ban on imports.”
Reassuringly, LMC experts see ‘no reason’ why beef can’t find new markets in the same way EU pork has had to redirect product this year.
Looking ahead to EU efforts to drive product elsewhere, an LMC spokesperson said: “The Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) in Europe has indicated that it will set up a task force to analyse the potential impact of the Russian sanctions on EU agriculture in the coming weeks.
“These talks will include identifying new market opportunities elsewhere in the world.”
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