Welsh lamb exports to US welcomed by Plaid politicians

Carmarthenshire’s Jonathan Edwards MP and Adam Price AM have welcomed proposals that would see US restrictions on the import of Welsh lamb relaxed.

The easing of US restrictions on the import of Welsh lamb, which have been in place for the last twenty years since the BSE epidemic, will allow Welsh farmers access to the US market and significantly bolster the Welsh agricultural sector.

Jonathan Edwards MP had travelled to the White House in April as part of a delegation to relax the ban and improve Welsh exports to the US market.

This week, Jonathan Edwards joined Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales) and the Farmers Union of Wales (FUW) at the National Eisteddfod who were promoting ‘Llamb Day’.

Jonathan Edwards MP said:

“I welcome this proposal to lift the US ban on Welsh lamb and beef exports to the US, as part of the broader rapprochement between the US and UK agricultural sector.

“Together with my constituency neighbour Simon Hart MP, we made the case in Washington for the ban on Welsh agricultural produce to be relaxed so as to facilitate Welsh agricultural exports to bring much-needed new markets for Welsh agricultural produce.

“I believe that this proposed relaxation will help ensure the continued health of the Welsh agricultural sector, and provide further incentive for Wales to market itself and engage with the global economy through new trade deals in the post-Brexit climate.”

Speaking after enjoying a meal of Welsh lamb at the launch of “Llamb Day” by Hybu Cig Cymru at the National Eisteddfod yesterday, Jonathan Edwards added:

“I am proud to support ‘Llamb Day’ as an innovative and crucial step in building the profile of Welsh lamb both in the UK and abroad, highlighting the premium quality of Welsh lamb and the proactivity of Welsh agriculture to market itself.

“Hybu Cig Cymru are thinking dynamically, building upon the excellent PGI quality of Welsh lamb and their successes last year in building a greater profile for Welsh lamb. We face political and economic uncertainty as a consequence of Brexit, and campaigns like these are essential in ensuring that the Welsh agricultural sector continues to thrive.”

Adam Price AM said:

“A core element of this measure is the recognition of the high quality of Welsh lamb produced here in Wales, which has been guaranteed by the European Commission through the designation of Protected Geographical Indication status.

“Wales needs to be outward looking post-Brexit, and this is a notable success. Trade is crucial to the Welsh economy, and securing and taking advantage of new markets is a step towards ensuring our economic security.

“Yet while we celebrate the consultation by the US Government on reviewing the ban on Welsh lamb imports, we must continue to contextualise our political and economic situation. The European market is worth nearly £200 million a year solely to Welsh farmers, far in excess of the estimated £35 million UK-wide benefit that would be gained from exporting lamb to the US.

“This is an important step forward, and I hope to work closely with Carmarthenshire and Welsh farmers to ensure that farmers can take full advantage of this opportunity. However, we must continue to work to ensure that Welsh farmers’ will be able to access the European market where the majority of our agricultural exports are destined to ensure the continued vitality of Welsh agriculture.”

Beginning on the inaugural ‘Llamb’s Day’ celebration of the finest Welsh Lamb on August 1st, Hybu Cig Cymru have held events at various locations throughout Wales, including at major supermarkets and the National Eisteddfod, featuring free recipe booklets and opportunities to taste Welsh Lamb dishes.

Hybu Cig Cymru consumer expert Elwen Roberts said:

“It’s great to see that more and more people are paying attention to where their food comes from. Learning more about the source of ingredients we use is vital to preparing healthy and delicious meals. With our August tour we’d like to celebrate the best time of year to try the very finest locally-raised lamb – summer and autumn.”

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