Food Minister George Eustice has announced a new pork export deal with China worth an estimated £200 million to the UK food industry and supporting 1,500 jobs.
Seven new businesses in England and Northern Ireland have secured access to the huge Chinese pork export market, including three who, in a first for the UK, will export pig trotters.
The new agreements include approval to export from five sites in Suffolk, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, County Antrim and County Tyrone – meaning Northern Ireland will take advantage of this export success story for the first time.
The announcement follows ongoing work by government officials and ministers in the UK and China and comes after it was revealed UK food and drink exports reached £10 billion for the first half of 2017. In particular, demand for UK pork has doubled in terms of value over the last three years. Nine producers already export to China and generated £43m last year.
Mr Eustice said: “China is a hugely important market for our world-class food industry and by opening up access even further, more UK businesses can take advantage of the growing appetite for our food and drink.
“British food is produced to the very best standards of welfare, quality and safety and this growth in exports to China is creating more jobs and opportunities for our premium pork producers who can guarantee quality from farm to fork.”
Northern Ireland’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Robert Huey thanked Defra for securing access. He said: “This is very welcome news for the Northern Ireland pig sector and for our wider agri-food industry and I look forward to the commencement of exports to China. The deal represents a major boost worth in excess of £10m for the local pork industry.”
China is the world’s largest net importer of meat and, at the recent Pigs 2022 conference, experts forecast demand would remain strong, with the UK industry’s high-welfare, quality-assured, sustainably produced stance putting it in a strong position.
Dr Phil Hadley, AHDB’s international market development director, said: “We are absolutely delighted this new deal has been agreed with China, which will support jobs and create opportunities for UK pork producers for years to come.”
This agreement with China comes hot on the heels of this week’s announcement that a £34 million deal has been agreed to export UK beef to the Philippines.
“It is great to hear so much positive news around exports of UK meat and is a testament to the hard work being done to promote the UK food industry on a global stage,” Mr Hadley added.
The NPA said it was ‘exceptionally happy with this development’. “Many people have worked on this deal and we would like to thank all those through the years throughout industry and in Government who were involved in securing this amazing result,” the association said.