The United States will lift its decades-old ban of British lamb imports in early January.

The US will end the 20-year ban on sheep product imports from countries with cases of BSE and Scrapie from January 3.

The Member of Parliament for Montgomeryshire said the ban was "totally unjustified" and that today's announcement was "well overdue".

Montgomeryshire MP Craig Williams. Picture By Phil Blagg.

Montgomeryshire MP Craig Williams. Picture By Phil Blagg.

“The news that lamb imports to the US will resume from the beginning of 2022 is a fantastic boost for sheep farmers across the UK and Montgomeryshire," Craig Williams said.

"The US is the second-largest importer of lamb and mutton in the world, and this decision will provide the UK’s sheep sector with an £18m import boost. It also reinforces that the UK Government is determined to open up new and lucrative markets for our farmers across the world.

“This is a well overdue move on the US’ part. The UK produces world class lamb to the highest animal welfare standards, and this decades-old ban, which was totally unjustified, should have been lifted a long time ago.

“I am delighted that people across America will once again be able to enjoy Welsh lamb – the best lamb in the world.”

In the Federal Register, the US Department of Agriculture today (Friday, December 3) said: “We are amending the regulations governing the importation of animals and animal products to revise conditions for the importation of live sheep, goats, and certain other non-bovine ruminants, and products derived from sheep and goats, with regards to transmissable spongiform encephalopathies such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and scrapie.

“We are removing BSE-related import restrictions on sheep and goats and most of their products.”

The ban, which has been in place since 2000, follows the US removing a similar ban on British beef imports in September 2020.

The announcement was described by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Twitter as "fantastic news" that will give the UK sector an £18m boost.