The first shipment of British pork under the country's new export deal with China made its way from Tulip's cold store in the West Midlands on June 21, according to reports.

China is the largest market for pork in the world, and negotiations for direct trade between the two countries have been underway for years. "This is an important step, not only for Tulip but also for the British pig industry," said Tulip Sales and Export Manager Martin Sauer. "The Chinese market is huge — the biggest in the world — and there will be scope to expand it in years to come."

British Pig Executive chairman Stewart Houston, who was involved in the negotiations to open the market, said the new deal is very important to British trade. "[China] is a market that could easily be worth £50 million a year in the not too far distant future,” said Houston.