To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 4 June 2003, Official Report, column 409W, ref. 116584, how much beef was exported over the last three years; and what plans she has to increase this. 
The following table shows UK exports of beef of both UK and non-UK origin for the last three years. It is not possible to distinguish between exports of beef of UK origin and beef of non-UK origin which has been imported into the UK and subsequently exported.
|Exports of beef and veal from United Kingdom 2000–02|
|Unit: Thousand tonnes, carcase weight equivalent|
Figures include an estimate for unrecorded trade.
HM Custom and Excise OTS
DARD, Northern Ireland
One of the commercial difficulties for beef exporters has been the constrictive nature of the conditions of the Date Based Export Scheme (DBES) which still prohibits the export of bone-in beef more than nine months old and has very stringent cattle eligibility criteria. Another problem has been the strength of sterling against the euro. However the possibility that the DBES can be modified or dismantled altogether is becoming a very real prospect as the number of BSE cases continues to decline and this, combined with a strengthening of the euro is likely to improve prospects for exports of British origin beef towards the end of next year.