Boost for pork sector as Mexico opens doors to UK exports

In a much-needed boost for the British pig sector, Mexico has officially opened its doors to British pork for the first time, proving a potential £50m boost over five years.

Four processing facilities and four associated cold stores in England and Wales have been approved for export.

This follows more than four years of negotiations and inspections. The Mexican National Department for Health, Safety and Agricultural and Food Quality (SENASICA) inspected numerous premises throughout the UK during a visit in February 2020, which led to the decision.

These inspections were led by Defra and the UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP) and hosted by AHDB, with support from UK national and devolved government departments and agencies, including DIT Mexico.

British pork exporters will now be able tap into this brand-new market, which boasts high demand for high quality pork meat, Ministers said. According to AHDB, access to the Mexican market alone is estimated to be worth £50 million to UK pork producers over the first five years of trade.

Global UK pork exports were worth over £421m last year, reaching 75 export markets worldwide and this development follows recent successes in gaining access for UK pork to Taiwan, beef to the USA  and UK poultry, beef and lamb to Japan.

Defra Secretary of State George Eustice said: “It is great to see another market open its doors to high quality, high welfare UK produce.

“Access to the Mexican market, with its substantial demand for high-quality pork, will be a welcome boost for our pig farmers and producers. This is a significant development, which will reinforce our global reputation for quality food and drink.”

The Government said that, as a world leader in animal welfare, UK pork is globally recognised for its provenance, quality and traceability. Through the GREAT Britain & Northern Ireland campaign, the UK government is aiming to raise the international profile and reputation of UK food and drink and help more food and drink companies export their produce abroad.

Pork will join a broad range of livestock genetics that the UK already successfully exports to Mexico, including  bovine embryos and semen, a market worth over £130,000 annually over the last five years, and ovine genetics, with award-winning rams and ewes being bred in Mexico.

The UK and Mexico have committed to begin negotiating a new and ambitious free trade agreement this year, which will go much further than the existing deal, which will complement the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific partnership (CPTPP), an increasingly influential trade network of 11 dynamic economies spanning from the Indo-Pacific region to the Americas.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “This is a huge win for our farmers and food producers and I look forward to seeing high-quality British pork being enjoyed in Mexico very soon.

“British businesses can look forward to the benefits of a new and ambitious trade agreement with Mexico which we will be negotiating this year, and wins like these are an important step towards our accession to CPTPP that will see our global trade hit new heights.”

AHDB International Market Development Director Dr Phil Hadley described the announcement as a ‘fantastic boost’ for the UK’s pork industry, which he said offers another potential export market for our red meat during a challenging year.

“Pork from the UK is trusted and favoured worldwide due to its exceptional quality, high welfare and food safety standards. This new approval will offer a wealth of opportunities for our exporters and is a testament to the hard work of industry and government to open new markets as we look to the future,” Mr Hadley said.

AHDB has put together a podcast on the development, which you can listen to HERE 

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About The Author

Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.