The US has agreed equivalence of standards on the UK’s disease control measures following a three-week inspection last summer, which means exports can begin shortly.
The agreement follows an extended period of negotiation and consultation between Government bodies, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and industry groups that began in early 2016.
Reopening the market
Commenting on the development, international trade secretary Liz Truss said: “It is great news that the US has reopened the market to British beef. I look forward to seeing high-quality British beef enjoyed on tables across the US very soon.
“The UK’s farming industry will benefit from a free trade agreement with the US because we can create wider opportunities for farmers locked out of the largest consumer market on the planet. A stronger trading relationship is a win-win for both sides.”
Negotiations for a UK-US free trade agreement are expected to begin this month.
A spokesman for the British Meat Processors Association said: “This is a very positive development after a lengthy and thorough approval process and is a recognition by the US authorities of the high standards under which the UK meat industry operates. While the US in unlikely to be a high-volume destination for UK beef, there are great opportunities to market our high-quality grass-fed beef at a premium.
“A key to success in the international meat trade is to have access to as many markets as possible to mitigate risk and optimise returns by selling to the best market at the best price and access to the US market further increase the options for UK producers and processors to do this.”
The UK government has made great strides in the past year to secure export markets for British food and drink.
In October, the first order of Scotch beef PGI by Japan arrived in the country, more than 20 years after it was banned. That same month saw the UK and China finalise a beef trade agreement that will be worth more than £230m over the next five years.
The UK moved a step closer to securing pork exports to Mexico last month, following a two-week inspection of abattoirs and processors by Mexican officials. HM revenue & Customs also reported that red meat exports from the UK rocketed to more than £1.5bn last year.
Meanwhile, UK sheepmeat exports jumped 7.1% by value and 12.6% by volume in 2019 compared with the previous year, according to HMRC.