Welsh target US market
The visit came as the Welsh meat promotion board Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) revealed exports had risen to a record £240m in 2011, up £53m on the same time last year.
HCC chairman Dai Davies said red meat exports had been of enormous benefit to the Welsh economy and that the aggressive marketing policy to overseas markets, in which Welsh meat was highlighted as a premium, global label had paid great dividends.
He said: “This is a staggering achievement – and one in which everyone involved with our great industry can feel very proud. Welsh Lamb is now a global brand, known throughout the world for its quality and superior taste.
“The huge boost in the value of exports has been fuelled by an increased demand from established markets in Europe, coupled with the opening up of new opportunities in Scandinavia and Canada. HCC is also pressing ahead with efforts to export our products to China, Russia and the US.”
Last year, Wales and Canada came to a trade agreement that saw Welsh lamb sold into the Canadian market. However, restrictions in EU beef and lamb imports to the US are still in place, although trade negotiations are ongoing.
Welsh beef sales rose from £35m to £67m in 2011, with lamb sales oaround £133m. Other red meat products, including fifth-quarter and hides and skins accounted for around £40m.