Hopes of relief on beef likely to be scuppered
Sunday 16 November 1997
Agriculture minister Jack Cunningham is looking to a December meeting of the European Union's top veterinary committee to lift the export ban on Northern Irish beef, 20 months after exports of all British beef were prohibited by the EU.
In Brussels, the omens do not look good, according to agriculture officials from the 15 EU governments and British meat industry lobbyists. Some governments, notably Germany and Austria, are implacably opposed to an early lifting of the ban.
The effects of the crisis have gone well beyond simple damage to meat companies. "You're talking about pounds 3bn overall, including lost export revenue, support for farmers and the disposal of cattle," said a spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food.
Despite the negative signals coming from many of its EU partners, the UK is still hoping that proposals on Northern Ireland will be ready in time for the meeting of the EU's veterinary committee, either on 2 or 16 December. Unfortunately for the UK, the 15 chief veterinary officers who sit on the committee are renowned for following their respective governments' party line.
Meat industry officials believe as many as five or six countries are likely to vote against allowing trade to restart from Northern Ireland, easily enough to block the move.
"There's no reason why Northern Ireland shouldn't be opened up immediately. Our beef is by far the safest beef in Europe. But even if we do get the go-ahead, it won't be that easy to regain our markets," said a spokesman for Anglo Beef Processors.
The company exported pounds 50m worth of beef annually before the ban, and owns 25 per cent of Northern Irish processing capacity.
Still, there are those in the British meat industry who feel it would be no bad thing if Europe decided not to give even a small part of the UK the go-ahead. "If we lifted the ban right now, we would struggle to recover our export markets," said Peter Scott, general-secretary of the Federation of Fresh Meat Wholesalers of England and Wales. "I wouldn't mind if the ban wasn't relaxed at this stage. It is too early. The confidence just isn't there yet."
The impact of the ban has been disastrous. In 1995, the last full year of trade before it took effect, the UK exported 242,000 tonnes of beef worth pounds 642m.
Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg
- 1 Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
- 2 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 4 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 5 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Man who was struck and killed by lightning in Brecon Beacons 'was carrying a selfie stick'
Greece debt crisis as it happened: EU chiefs at loggerheads hours before Alexis Tsipras’s last ditch deal proposals
Bakery sends 'horrific' version of Frozen-themed birthday cake to unsuspecting customer
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sales?Do you have a keen interes...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...