Minister highlights EBLEX’s key role in driving export market

Minister highlights EBLEX’s key role in driving export market

EBLEX’s role in cultivating export markets to help drive economic growth has been highlighted by Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, David Heath MP at a major industry conference.

Speaking via a pre-recorded video message at EBLEX’s ninth annual Export Conference, Mr Heath said the UK was ahead of the curve of the EU-27 in terms of exports to countries outside the EU, but it was only the beginning.

The value of UK meat exports to countries outside the EU increased by around 80% between 2009 and 2012, while the EU-27 as a whole grew by around 75%.

Heath said: “It shows what a great potential we have in this sector for export-led growth and I would like to thank the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and EBLEX for all the work that they do in this area. At Gulfood, in Dubai, EBLEX hosted an excellent networking dinner for UK exporters and Dubai importers – getting them together and showcasing the quality of our produce. I think that’s a key part of our work.”

He also stressed the vital role of food and farming to the economy, with a thriving domestic market and the potential for export-led growth.

Heath said “I passionately believe in the excellence of the produce that we produce in this country. It’s an easy sell wherever we go in the world and exports are key to the growth in our economy. Last year, the UK exported 120,000 tonnes of beef and veal – that’s worth £389 million, and 95,000 tonnes of lamb – that’s £352 million, and that’s good news for the growth of the economy and employment.”

Heath told delegates he wanted the AHDB, through its sector divisions including EBLEX, to be seen as the ‘go-to’ body for the industry because it enabled government and industry to work together on common objectives.

He added: “I see EBLEX as having a key role in that, not just in boosting UK demand, but in opening up new overseas markets. It’s really exciting because we have profitable developments in exports against a backdrop of really quite extraordinary achievements.”

Delegates were told about plans to improve support resources for companies that either export now or are thinking of doing so, with initiatives like upgrading the Export Health Certification system to enable companies respond to opportunities more quickly and flexibly.

In conclusion, Heath said: “I’m determined to see the UK get the share of the global export market that I feel we deserve and I’m confident that not only that we will do that, but today’s event will be invaluable in helping us to do that.”

Jean-Pierre Garnier, EBLEX export manager, said: “We welcome the Minister’s acknowledgement of our export work. Developing new export markets has been, and continues to be, a key area of EBLEX’s work. In particular, we have opened more than 60 non-EU markets for beef and lamb since August, 2010 and will continue to work with industry to capitalise on further opportunities for the sector.”

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