The way has opened for the export of UK pig meat and breeding pigs to China, following formal agreement of the export health certificate for export of pig meat from the UK to China by the Chinese authorities on Nov. 8.

This means that exports from approved plants can now start, and opens up the world’s largest market to UK pig producers after nearly a decade of negotiations between the British Pig Executive (BPEX) in conjunction with the government and the country’s trade and investment body and the Chinese authorities.

In addition, the UK government has signed an agreement which re-opens the export of British breeding pigs to China — home to half of the world's pig population. The deal is valued at around £45 million to the UK pig industry over the next five years.

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“This is wonderful news for the industry and something we have really been looking forward to," said BPEX chairman Stewart Houston. "It will offer enormous opportunities for pig meat, particularly with a range of fifth quarter products — the parts of the carcass that command a premium in China.”

The process of approving the list of UK pig processing plants for export to China is now nearing completion. A joint UK government and BPEX delegation is due to travel to China on Nov. 24 and will present several more plants for approval during the trip.