Vince Cable signs China pork deal

Pork and farming bosses have welcomed two landmark agreements with China, which will open the door for UK trade with the biggest consumer of pig meat in the world.

A formal agreement on the health certificate for exports of pig meat from the UK to China has been made between Business Secretary Vince Cable and the Chinese authorities.

This means exports from approved plants can start and it opens up the world's largest market to UK pig producers. Dr Cable has also signed an agreement, said to be worth millions of pounds for the UK economy, that will allow the export of British breeding pigs to China, home to half of the world's pig population.

Bpex chairman Stewart Houston said: "This is wonderful news for the industry and something we have really been looking forward to. It will offer enormous opportunities for pig meat, particularly with a range of fifth-quarter products the parts of the carcase that command a premium in China. We are very grateful for the hard work and spirit of co-operation shown not only by the Chinese, but also Defra's international animal health division and the British Embassy and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) team in Beijing, to bring these negotiations to a successful conclusion. The process did get delayed somewhat by the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in 2007, which temporarily halted the talks."

The process of approving the list of UK pig processing plants for export to China is nearing completion and a joint Defra and Bpex delegation is due to travel to China on 24 November 2010.

Dr Cable added: "This agreement gives a valuable boost to the British pig industry and is already delivering results. It is through the hard work of UKTI and the successful Tradeshow Access Programme, alongside the work of the British Pig Association and Defra's partnership approach with the UK livestock industry, that this deal has been secured."

Two British companies, JSR Genetics based in Yorkshire and JJ Genetics in Cambridge, are said to already be planning to expand their business in China on the back of the deal, said UKTI. Both firms will see pigs sourced from East Anglia, the north east and south east of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Farming Minister Jim Paice said: "This will open the doors in China for the export of the UK's breeding pigs, which are bred and raised to some of the highest welfare standards."

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