Stirling MP hails Japan trade boost

MP for Stirling Stephen Kerr this morning welcomed the announcement that UK beef and lamb exports to Japan will start for the first time in over 20 years.

The announcement, worth almost £130million to UK farmers, came as Japan agreed to end an embargo on UK beef and lamb that has existed since the epidemic of mad cow disease in the UK.

In the late 80s and early 90s, the UK was hit by an outbreak of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, more commonly known as Mad Cow disease. 4.4 million cattle were destroyed in the UK to prevent its spread, and out of concern for public health many countries stopped importing beef from the UK.

This move was spurred by the linking of the human-borne Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (or vCJD) to mad cow disease. 178 people have died as a result of vCID since 1995.

Stirling MP Stephen Kerr said:

“This news will be welcomed by farmers in my constituency and across Scotland. In total UK farmers will benefit to the tune of almost £120million as a result of this decision from the Japanese Government. I’m hoping this is just the tip of the iceberg for our foreign affairs.

Earlier this year I went to Japan as part of my work with the BEIS (Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy) committee. There I heard just how excited they are by the prospect of a stronger trading relationship with the UK. Post-Brexit we will have the opportunity to pursue just such a relationship.