The latest provisional data shows that in 2016 quota utilisation by the two largest exporters of sheep meat to the EU declined.
The data published by the EU showed that New Zealand used only 76 per cent of its total sheep meat quota to the EU, marginally lower than the same period in 2015. This equates to 172,500 tonnes, of the total quota of 228,254 tonnes available, one per cent lower than in 2015. This follows tighter supplies seen in New Zealand for much of 2016, following a small lamb crop and drought leading to earlier slaughterings. EU trade statistics up to the end of October show that imports from New Zealand were level with the previous year at 124,325 tonnes, suggesting that much of the fall was seen in the final two months of 2016. This is significant for UK producers as approximately half of total sheep meat imports to the EU from New Zealand come to the UK.
Australia has a much smaller quota for sheep meat to the EU than New Zealand and, therefore, it usually comes close to filling it. However, in 2016, quota utilisation fell from 99 per cent in both 2014 and 2015 to just 94 per cent. This means that 18,000 tonnes of the total quota of 19,186 tonnes were used.