China lifts ban on exports of British beef
China has lifted its longstanding ban on exports of beef from the UK, in a landmark move for British producers estimated to be worth £250 million in the first five years alone.
This is more than 20 years after the Chinese government first imposed the ban in the wake of the BSE outbreak.
The milestone is said to be the culmination of several years of site inspections and negations between UK and Chinese government officials.
China is currently the UK’s eighth largest export market for agri-food, with over £560 million worth of food and drink bought by Chinese consumers last year.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “This is fantastic news for our world-class food and farming industry and shows we can be a truly outward looking Britain outside the European Union. It is the result of painstaking and collaborative work by industry and the Defra team over many years.
“Today’s milestone will help to unlock UK agriculture’s full potential and is a major step to forging new trading relationships around the globe.”
The deal will allow official market access negotiations to begin, a process which typically takes around three years.
This follows Prime Minister Theresa May’s trade mission to China earlier this year, where she agreed new measures to improve market access to China.
It also follows a successful inspection visit in April 2018 hosted by Defra, the Food Standards Agency and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.
Nick Allen, chief executive of British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) has also commented: “This news follows years of collaboration between government and industry to make this a reality and it will be fantastic to see UK beef exported to the country for the first time in over 20 years.
“We look forward to seeing the export protocols and approvals being settled as quickly as possible so that commercial shipments can start. Access to the Chinese market will play a key role in the beef sectors ability to maximise the value of the carcase, which is good news for all parts of the supply chain.’’