The British beef industry is set to benefit from an estimated £230 million boost after China finalised the details of an export deal with the UK.
Farmers and beef producers in the UK will have full access to the Chinese market, for the first time in 20 years. It marks the end of a ban imposed by China following the 1996 BSE outbreak.
The agreement follows extensive inspections by the Chinese authorities, who have confirmed that British beef producers meet the necessary standards to export to their market.
Chinese authorities have cleared four beef sites for export in the first instance, with further sites under review. The first exports are expected to be shipped in the next few months.
International trade secretary Liz Truss said: “Chinese diners can now enjoy the best beef in the world. I’m delighted that our dedicated UK producers can now sell quality products to one of the world’s largest economies, supporting local jobs and bringing millions of pounds to the UK economy each year.
“This is another step forward in realising our global trading ambitions with unbeatable British food. As we leave the European Union, we will continue to break down market access barriers to make it easier for UK businesses to trade across the world.”
AHDB’s international market development director, Dr Phil Hadley, added: “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.
“We continue to work collaboratively with government to create new opportunities for our red meat exports and today’s announcement is a testament to the persistence and hard work of all involved.
“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.”
China recently approved five British pork plants to export products to the country, building on a market that was already worth £70 million a year. Defra said it looks forward to the approval of further qualified UK pork plants by the end of 2019.