More pork was exported last year than any since 2000, just before the start of the last outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease.
Total exports of pork and pork products hit 256,000t (product weight), very similar to the level for 2000, with a total value of more than £325 million.
The biggest single market was Greater China (including Hong Kong) which took 57,000t.
BPEX international manager Peter Hardwick said the increase in exports was extremely gratifying.
“To a great extent, it’s due to the efforts of BPEX, in conjunction with DEFRA, to open new markets, especially outside the EU, with China being the highlight, although last year also saw a re-invigorated trade with Japan,” he added.
“We believe there’s considerable scope for this to grow further as we increase the number of approved export plants and hope shortly to reach agreement on the export of pigs trotters, which are estimated to represent 40% of the trade to China.
“We’re also working on opening other markets across South East Asia as well as Russia.”
Although the UK is able to export to Russia under the exisiting EU/Russia trade protocol, we don’t currently have any processing facilities with the necessary export certificates to send pork to that country.