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Doors Open for Lamb Exports to United Arab Emirates

The doors to a major new international market have been opened, with the United Arab Emirates lifting their foot and mouth related restrictions on the import of lamb from the whole of the United Kingdom.

Quality Meat Scotland and Scottish Development International has been supporting the work of Defra and its partnership with the UK livestock and livestock product exporting industry in gaining a UK wide export health certificate for lambmeat exports, reopening the market to the Emirates including the prosperous enclaves of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Following this success, Defra and its industry partners are now negotiating an additional certificate to cover UK beef exports.

Laurent Vernet, Head of Marketing for Quality Meat Scotland, said: "This is great news for the industry as it opens up a new and rapidly expanding market for Scottish exporters.

"Dubai in particular has become one of the major transportation hubs of the world, welcoming more than 18 million travellers in 2008, and has a bustling economy which attracts many foreign workers. The population has more than doubled in the past 10 years to 1.6 million people.

"Lamb is the most favoured meat throughout the Emirates, and with some of the most iconic and exclusive hotels and restaurants in the world being built in the area, it will be important for them to source the best quality ingredients to use. We're now working hard to ensure that the opportunities opened up for Scotch Lamb are also extended to Scotch Beef."

Dubai and the United Arab Emirates were recently identified by QMS as key markets to target for exports. QMS assisted the discussions by providing a list of probable importers and people who have expressed interest in Scottish product and well as a list of contacts for those who could supply the all important Halal certification. Under local law, all lamb exported to the UAE must be Halal.

QMS is now working with Scottish Development International (SDI) to build on this work with the aim of establishing sales channels throughout the nation.

David Smith, Operations Director at SDI said: "This is a terrific development for the Scottish red meat industry. The United Arab Emirates provides real growth opportunities for Scottish food exporters.

"Scottish Development International will continue to work with Quality Meat Scotland to support the work to now get Scotch Beef as well as Scotch Lamb into this expanding and dynamic market."

QMS now has a number of other potential target markets outside Europe in its sights pending successful negotiations on the required export documentation.

The Scottish Government continues to back the Scottish red meat industry's export ambitions recognising its vital contribution to the Scottish economy. QMS and the Scottish Government work closely with Scotland Food and Drink, the food and drink industry's leadership body, as it spearheads creating a Scottish food and drink industry worth £10 billion pounds by 2017.