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Tue 5 Mar 2019 07:42 AM

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'No deal Brexit will be 'disastrous', says Europe's largest lamb supplier

Rizvan Khalid's Euro Quality Lambs eyes Middle East expansion as 'no deal' Brexit looms closer

'No deal Brexit will be 'disastrous', says Europe's largest lamb supplier
Rizvan Khalid specified that there is demand from high end retailers and food service sectors in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Europe’s largest lamb supplier, Euro Quality Lambs, will shift its focus to the Middle East and other regions should a ‘no deal’ Brexit arise, said the firm’s managing director.

Rizvan Khalid told Arabian Business the family-owned company currently exports 80 percent of its lambs to the European Union (EU).

“If it’s a no deal, it will be a disaster... in that scenario, we will be more focused on looking at our non-EU partners, such as the Middle East, China, US and Canada. Depending on how Brexit goes – and that’s the biggest unknown at the moment – we may have to adjust our export strategy,” Khalid said.

"Euro Quality Lambs will look outside the EU to export our lambs should a free trade agreement not be possible post-March 29. I am concerned about what happens in March, but it’s politics and what can I do about politics? There is only so much you can do without certainty,” he added.

The firm’s lambs – all halal-certified – are raised outdoors in Shropshire, UK.

Middle East expansion

Euro Quality Lambs, which produces over 10,000 lamb carcasses a week, has a "relationship" with the Middle East that it will look to strengthen in the event of a no-deal Brexit scenario, Khalid said.

“We have done business with the Middle East before; that is an area that we have opened but our main customers are into Europe,” he said.

Khalid specified that there is demand from "high end retailers and food service sectors" in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

“Outside Europe there is a lot of demand for New Zealand lamb because it’s more affordable, but we work on the premise that we have high quality British lamb; we are priced at a premium but we also offer British quality and heritage."

Khalid said Euro Quality Lambs would also look towards expanding into Canada with its premium products and Africa for its lower value "offal" products.

British businesses grew at their slowest rate in nearly six years in February because of fears of a no-deal Brexit and rising global trade barriers, according to a survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

The CBI’s measure of private sector growth dropped to -3 in February from zero in January.

“More and more companies are hitting the brakes on investment and day-to-day business decisions are becoming increasingly problematic,” the CBI’s chief economist, Rain Newton-Smith, said.

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