China finalises UK beef export agreement
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Posted: 21 October 2019 | Sam Mehmet (New Food) | No comments yet
The British beef industry is set to benefit from an estimated £230 million boost as the Chinese government has finalised details of a UK-China agreement.
For the first time in over 20 years, UK farmers and beef producers will have full access to the Chinese market, marking the end of a ban imposed by China following the Mad Cow Disease (BSE) outbreak in 1996.
The China-UK beef agreement is said to be the culmination of several years of engagement between the UK and Chinese government officials. China’s ban was lifted in June 2018 when market access engagement for UK beef exports began, and now the details have been officially finalised.
The announcement follows extensive inspections by the Chinese authorities – who have confirmed that British beef producers meet the necessary standards to export to their market – and marks the final step in securing access.
The Chinese authorities have cleared four beef sites for export in the first instance – with further sites under review – and the first exports are expected to be shipped in the next few months.
The ban lift has followed a number of inspections and inward missions hosted by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), in partnership with Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales HCC), as well as other industry bodies and government departments and agencies.
“Sealing this landmark agreement with China is huge news for our world-renowned food and farming industry, meaning more people across the globe can enjoy British beef,” said Environment Secretary, Theresa Villiers. “The milestone marks another step towards unlocking the industry’s full potential, and reflects our ambition to maximise trading opportunities for British produce across the world as the UK leaves the EU.”
“This is a great end to a very successful year for our red meat exports. This new agreement is fantastic news for our beef processors who will now have access to another market outside of the EU,” said AHDB International Market Development Director, Dr Phil Hadley.
“We look forward to seeing the first shipments of beef arrive in China and hope to replicate the success of our pork exports in the beef sector.”
The announcement comes after China recently approved five British pork plants to export products to China, which will build on a market that is already worth £70 million per year.
China is currently the UK’s eighth-largest export market for food and beverages, with more than £610 million worth of products bought by Chinese consumers in 2018.
Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), Quality Meat Scotland (QMS)