A Devon sausage-maker has taken his fight to export to China right to the top – by pressuring the government at Downing Street.
Charles Baughan, managing director of Westaway Sausages, was invited to a reception at number 10 to celebrate Chinese New Year, along with 150 other businessmen, politicians and officials involved in trade with the Far East.
Mr Baughan joined Prime Minister David Cameron’s trade mission to China in December, as he wants the government to speed up negotiations for the health certificate needed to export processed pork and to recruit an embassy official in Beijing dedicated to trade in pigmeat.
Before yesterday’s reception he sent a presentation about China’s potential to the prime minister and he used the occasion to lobby Mr Cameron’s close advisers.
“The standard response I am getting is: ‘It is a complicated business, it takes time. We are recruiting somebody, but we have not done it yet,’” Mr Baughan said.
“The British psyche is to wait meekly in a queue while selling, which the Chinese do not accept at all. We need to express clearly what we want.
“But I am seriously impressed with how busy the senior players are in government. They have a lot coming at them and I wonder how they manage to stop and take downtime.”
Mr Baughan said he wanted the UK to take advantage of China’s export potential for pork, especially since two Danish pork plants were licensed in November.
The UK can currently export live pigs, fresh and frozen cuts and some offals to China, but not processed pork products such as sausages.
“China is a huge market that is very keen to buy proteins and dairy – it needs to feed its people.
“They are increasingly affluent. They very much like the British brand and our food safety, which commands respect around the world.
“British meat is highly competitive in the Chinese market because our productivity and welfare is so much better,” Mr Baughan said.
See also: How to get your products into China