Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland farmers to gain from US trade moves

By Rachel Martin

Northern Ireland lamb producers could reap the rewards of relaxed US trade restrictions, it has been claimed.

Ulster Farmers' Union deputy president Victor Chestnutt said plans in the US to relax restrictions on sheep meat and live imports will be welcomed by producers in Northern Ireland.

While proposals are in consultation, it's hoped exports of meat could resume in 2017.

Mr Chestnutt said the proposal was a "positive step".

"The UK is perhaps in a unique position, given that it is expected we will soon begin a process to officially leave the EU.

"However, we would fully expect that, until such times that the UK has officially left the EU, that DEFRA and DAERA will work hard for local sheep producers, ensuring our industry can source export opportunities in the US and other markets.

"While lamb consumption in the US is relatively low in comparison to other meats, they are still only 47% self-sufficient, meaning they are heavily reliant on imports to meet demand. We believe we have a unique, high-quality product."

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