British beef eyes up China

Progress has been made in exporting British beef into China, following a successful visit by Chinese officials.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), alongside the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) last month hosted a delegation of Chinese representatives at a beef farm in Surrey to demonstrate the high standard of animal welfare and disease control methods practised within Britain.

During the visit, which was part of a strategy to open up beef exports to China, delegates also met with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

With the middle-income population of China on the rise, quality cuts are in demand. Last year, the countrys consumption of beef increased and the total value of imports reached 1.5 billion, double the amount imported in 2014.

Just this week, Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom, visited China to meet with business and government ministers to discuss trade opportunities for UK food and drink.

The Chinese have always attached great importance to food safety and quality and we are flying the flag for our industry, renowned for its exceptional standards of welfare, quality and safety, she commented.

I have just returned from China where the appetite for our food and drink is huge and there are fantastic opportunities for our farmers and producers with exports reaching 200m for the first half of this year already. This visit from the Chinese delegation was a significant step towards opening the door for our world-class beef into this hugely lucrative market. The meeting was chaired by chief vet Nigel Gibbens, who welcomed the discussions.

AHDB Beef & Lamb head of global supply chain development Phil Hadley said this was a step in the right direction. It was a very good and worthwhile visit and the next steps have been agreed. We are at the beginning of a long road and it is going to take some time to negotiate the full opening of the market.

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