Wales – in the House of Commons on 23rd November 2022.
Whether he has had recent discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the export of Welsh lamb to the United States.
I was delighted to hear that the first shipment of British lamb left Wales for the USA last month. The USA lamb market is estimated to be worth £37 million over the next five years, with over 300 million consumers who can now access and enjoy our world-renowned Welsh lamb.
It is great that Welsh lamb has now been exported to the United States for the first time in 20 years. The National Farmers Union has set out a detailed strategy outlining its ambition to grow the UK’s food, drink and agricultural exports by 30% by 2030. Will the Minister work with the NFU to realise this laudable ambition to drive the total value of British agrifoods exports to more than £30 billion by that date?
I certainly will. I look forward to attending the royal Welsh winter fair next week, when I will be meeting the NFU. Wales has a major role in achieving increased exports and, when it comes to lamb, trade deals with the Gulf Co-operation Council, among others, could be key.
I too welcome the Minister to his new role. He will know how important lamb exports are to Welsh farmers and the Welsh economy. Exports to the US are a drop in the ocean compared to the damage his Government have done with the Australian and New Zealand trade deals. We know his colleague George Eustice said:
“I no longer have to put such a positive gloss on what was agreed…the Australia trade deal is not actually a very good deal…We did not need to give Australia or New Zealand full liberalisation in beef and sheep—it was not in our economic interest to do so”.—[Official Report,
Will the Minister now admit his Government have sold out Welsh farmers?
The hon. Gentleman will recognise that we import more from Ireland than from Australia. In fact, the Australian and New Zealand markets are very much in the rapidly expanding markets of south-east Asia. We need to look at the pros and cons of trade deals, and there are certainly many pros to the trade deals for the British economy.