The main focus of the reception will be to expand on the already booming Welsh lamb market in France as well as the pressing issue of the Date-Based Export Scheme
Satisfactory progress was noted in most areas - a prerequisite for any lifting of the date-based export scheme
The BIOHAZ Panel was also asked to examine the scientific justification for proposed amendments to the Date-Based Export Scheme
(DBES)(1) and the Over Thirty Months rule currently in force in the UK.
Defra is exploring several changes to the Date-Based Export Scheme
to remove some barriers to increase uptake.
It was lifted in August, 1999, subject to very strict conditions governing the origin and traceability of cattle in the UK - and notably a 'Date-Based Export Scheme
' which the Commission approved in November 1998, setting out requirements for meat and meat products exported from the UK.
Certain extra guarantees, on which the lifting of the ban hinges, have been received to supplement the date-based export scheme
(DBES) applied since 1998 in the United Kingdom.
"But the science is crystal clear and it is not in his gift to re-negotiate things like the date-based export scheme
- and nor would he wish to."
'We are hopeful that beef exports, without the constraints of the date-based export scheme
, will commence as soon as possible in 2006.
Sir Ben Gill, president of the NFU, said: "The FSA's clear view that there is no longer any justification for the OTM rule is testimony to the effectiveness of the UK's BSE controls and the rapid decline of cases in this country." But he added: "After seven years of removing older cattle from the food chain we are concerned about the market impact and the implications for producer prices arising from substantial additional volumes of beef supplies." Sir Ben said the proposed changes should go hand-in-hand with reform of the date-based export scheme
Then came the Date-Based Export Scheme
(the DBES), originally devised with the UK authorities as a means of lifting the ban on British beef and cattle exports by allowing the dispatch of products from cows born after a given date.
Scottish Agriculture Minister Mr Ross Finnie said: "The positive vote today on the date-based export scheme
in the German parliament is most welcome and good news for the standing of Scottish beef in Europe.
The truth, however, is that the European scientists' comments concerned only beef not covered by the date-based export scheme