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Decline in UK Beef Exports in 2017

06 December 2017

UK - According to the latest available data from HMRC, the UK exported 76,457 tonnes of beef during the first nine months of 2017, reports the Livestock and Meat Commission (MLC) for Northern Ireland.

This was a five per cent decline from the 80,838 tonnes of beef exported during the same period in 2016, LMC reports.

The EU continues to be the major destination for UK beef exports with 65,229 tonnes exported to the region during the 2017 period.

This accounted for 85 per cent of total UK beef exports. In the same period in 2016 the UK exported 72,599 tonnes of beef to the EU which accounted for 90 per cent of all UK beef exports.

Beef exports from the UK to Ireland totalled 24,608 tonnes during the first nine months of 2017, back 10 per cent from the same period in 2016 when 27,417 tonnes were exported to Ireland.

Despite this decrease in the volume of beef exports year on year Ireland remained the primary destination for UK beef exports.

It should be noted that beef exported from NI to plants in ROI for further processing and packaging are included in this total exports figure.

The UK’s second biggest customer in terms of export volumes of beef is the Netherlands. During the 2017 period 15,605 tonnes of beef were exported from the UK to the Netherlands, a ten per cent decline from the same period in 2017.

Beef exports to the Netherlands accounted for 20 per cent of total UK beef exports during the first nine months of 2017. This is back from 24 per cent in the same period in 2016.

There have also been declines in the volume of beef exported from the UK during the 2017 period to France (-9 per cent), Italy (-3 per cent), Denmark (-33 per cent) and Spain (-4 per cent). Meanwhile there were increases in the volume of UK beef exported to Belgium (+1 per cent) and Germany (+20 per cent).

Despite the year on year changes, the total volume of beef being exported to all of these countries remains relatively small in comparison to the level of beef exports to Ireland and the Netherlands.

The volume of beef exported from the UK to non- EU destinations during January-September 2017 totalled 11,228 tonnes.

This accounted for 15 per cent of total beef exports from the UK during this period. In the corresponding period in 2016 8,239 tonnes of beef were exported from the UK to non- EU destinations and accounted for 10 per cent of total beef exports.

The volume of beef exported to non-EU destinations increased by 36 per cent between the 2016 and 2017 time periods. While this increase is to be welcomed the overall volume of beef being exported to non-EU markets remains small.

Gaining access to important markets beyond the EU in Asia, Northern America and the Middle East is a key priority for Northern Ireland’s meat exporters.

LMC plays a strategic role facilitating the opening of new markets through its membership of the UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP).

LMC is a co-founder of this joint industry/government programme, the aim of which is to establish access for UK red meat products into third country markets.

The UK is currently a net importer of beef, i.e. it currently imports more beef than it exports. Despite this, however, the UK needs access to export markets to provide an outlet for parts of the carcase that are under utilised in the UK market.

With the EU providing such an important outlet for UK beef exports every effort should be made to maintain access to this important market post Brexit.

Current exports from the UK to the EU are primarily cheaper cuts of beef and access to this valuable export market allows processors to achieve carcase balance.

TheCattleSite News Desk

Top image via Shutterstock



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