The UK-China Beef Protocol was signed last week by Farming Minister Robert Goodwill and the Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming.
The culmination of several years of site inspections and engagement between UK and Chinese government officials, the finalised deal ends negotiations and will secure market access for UK beef exporters by the end of 2019. It could be worth an estimated £230 million for British producers in the first five years alone, according to a release published by DEFRA.
The agreement means that British beef exporters will now have full access to the Chinese market for the first time in more than twenty years, marking an end to the ban imposed by the Chinese government in 1996 following the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) outbreak.
International trade secretary Dr Liam Fox commented: “Today’s step is welcome progress for our world-leading British beef producers, who will soon be able to export their products to one of the world’s largest economies, supporting local jobs and bringing millions of pounds to the UK economy each year… 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.”
The announcement comes after China recently approved five British pork plants to export products to China, which will build on a market which is already worth £70 million per year.
China is currently the UK’s eighth largest export market for food and drink, with more than £610 million worth of products bought by Chinese consumers last year.
By Bryony Andrews
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