Positive US response means exports could return in 2017.
Scotch Lamb and haggis could be back on US plates by 2017 after a positive response from the US Government during a meeting with Food Secretary Richard Lochhead.
Mr Lochhead had a series of meetings with Lisa Mensah, an Under Secretary in the US Department of Agriculture, and the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - who have now confirmed draft rules will be published next year which will pave the way for Scotch Lamb and haggis to be back on US tables by 2017.
Mr Lochhead was accompanied by Vice President of the NFUS Rob Livesey, James Macsween of Macsween of Edinburgh and George Milne from the National Sheep Association at the meetings, which are part of a series of engagements with importers, retailers, chefs and Ministers to promote Scottish food and drink.
Mr Lochhead said:
"Getting back into the US market in 2017 would unlock a huge market and millions of pounds of business for our Scotch Lamb and haggis producers.
"Scotch Lamb is among the best in the world and the Scotch label is seen as a real hallmark of quality, and getting back into the US market would be a real breakthrough. I was pleased to hear from Under Secretary Mensah and the Animal and Plant Health Inspectorate Service that they will publish the draft rules next year to pave the way for the return of Scotch Lamb and haggis onto US plates.
"We know that around 10 million US citizens claim Scottish heritage so we have a ready made market with them and with Scots at heart. Of course exports to the US will also be a real boost for producers and farmers and benefit our economy."
Mr Livesey said:
"The work done here in the past few days should speed the entry of Scottish Beef and Lamb onto the US market.
"The opening of this market will be a real shot in the arm for our primary producers, who need every market opportunity available to give much-needed confidence to make positive breeding decisions now in anticipation of an upturn demand for our top quality product.
"We have had an exceptionally positive response from all those we have met and believe there is no meaningful reason why we should not expect Scotch Beef and Lamb to be flowing into this market within the next 18 months."
Welcoming the opportunity to be part of the delegation, Development Officer for the National Sheep Association George Milne said.
"Clearly there is a huge demand for Scotch Lamb in the U.S. Positive talks held today should provide a massive opportunity for our sheep industry as soon as the ban is lifted. We now need to keep the momentum moving forward for a successful outcome."
James Macsween said:
"Macsween of Edinburgh - who are Scotland's leading manufacturer of the National Dish - are very excited about the prospect of exporting haggis to the US within the next 24 months. It will be a massive opportunity for us and the industry."
Jim McLaren, Chairman of Quality Meat Scotland, said: "Scotch Lamb PGI has earned an enviable reputation in the export market with customers around the globe valuing the exceptional quality and flavour of the quality assured lamb we produce in Scotland.
"We look forward to consumers in the United States being able to enjoy Scotch Lamb as much at home as they do when travelling elsewhere in the world."