MOVES by the British pig industry to open trade links with China have taken a major step forward.
Breeding pigs can now be exported and British Pig Executive (BPEX) Chairman Stewart Houston said there was business waiting to be done.
The announcement comes a week after Stewart Houston went to China with Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister Ian Pearson as part of a visit by Tony Blair.
Stewart said: “This is a very significant step forward and something we have been working towards for a long time.
“It is the culmination of a great deal of hard work by BPEX, BPA, the China Britain Business Council, Defra and the British Embassy in Beijing.
“I know there are firms here poised and ready to export breeding stock to China where they are equally keen to do business with us. That came through very clearly from our trade missions.
“Though this is an important step it is not the end of the road and we will continue working towards opening the market for pork and pork products which is out next goal.”
BPEX has held three trade mission to China where industry leaders were briefed on the quality of both British breeding pigs and pigmeat. There was also a seminar for more than 60 industry leaders and processors.
China is the largest producer and consumer of pork in the world accounting for a half of global output. Rapid economic growth and a desire to modernise agriculture is stimulating demand for pork and high quality breeding pigs. Despite the limited number of countries with access to the mainland China market, imports of pork and breeding pigs in 2003 totalled US$ 120 million (£67 million) (Source: FAO). In many cases British processors have to pay for the destruction of some pork offal that could otherwise be sold to mainland China.