US moves to lift long-running ban on beef imports welcomed by UK farmers

MOVES by the United States government to end the long-running ban on beef imports from the UK are a “positive development”, farmers’ leaders say.

The ban has affected transatlantic trade since 1997 and was imposed on the grounds of the BSE risk. Now the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has drafted a Bill to align US bovine import conditions with the World Organisations for Animal Health (OIE) standards on BSE. It appears to be the latest in a series of steps to liberalise trade between the US and European Union.

National Farmers’ Union chief livestock adviser Peter Garbutt said: “The beef industry has gone through a difficult number of years but since 2006 more export markets have opened and beef exports have increased year on year driving returns for producers.

“This move would open up further export opportunities for UK producers and I believe we can be positive and optimistic about our market prospects in the future”.