NI beef approved for Philippines export

By Conor Macauley
BBC NI Agriculture & Environment Correspondent

Image caption,
It is believed the beef trade could be worth £5.5m to the industry in Northern Ireland over the next five years

Northern Ireland beef has been approved for export to the Philippines, one of south east Asia's largest markets.

It is part of a wider deal on access for UK beef announced on Wednesday.

It is believed the trade could be worth £5.5m to the industry in Northern Ireland over the next five years.

It follows formal endorsement last month of Northern Ireland as an area of negligible risk for the cattle disease BSE by the World Organisation for Animal Health.

The news has been welcomed by the chief vet Robert Huey who said it was a major boost for Northern Ireland's agri-food industry.

Inspection visits

The trade will start once export paperwork has been agreed between officials in the UK and the Philippines.

Image caption,
The deal will mean more work for Northern Ireland's meat processors

The UK already has permission to export pork lamb and poultry to the south-east Asian nation.

But the beef trade has been lobbying to be added to the list.

The market had been closed to UK beef imports since the BSE crisis of the mid nineties.

Last year, meat plants here hosted inspection visits by officials from the Philippines.

Mr Huey said rigorous production standards and the insistence on traceability had been key.

Beef exports to the Philippines, which has a population of 103m people, are expected to be worth £34m to the UK economy.