Pig carcasses © Tim Scrivener© Tim Scrivener

Seven additional UK businesses have secured market access to China to export pork products.

The Chinese authorities have approved exports from five new sites in Suffolk, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, County Antrim and County Tyrone.

Defra claims the deal could be worth £200m in total and support 1,500 jobs.

See also: China – what are the dairy opportunities for UK producers

Nine producers already export to China, with sales of pork products worth £43m last year.

In a UK first, three of the new businesses given the green light to start trading will be exporting pigs’ trotters.

Northern Ireland

The deal means Northern Ireland will for the first time be able to take advantage of the growing demand for British food and drink in China.

The Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera) said shipments would not start for another two to four weeks while the correct administration was put in place.

However, suppliers could start to pack product with a view to exporting it.

Robert Huey, Daera chief veterinary officer, said: “The commencement of pork exports to China, including exports of trotters, will represent a major boost for the local pork industry.

“It will expand markets and secure jobs.”

The Ulster Farmers Union described it as a big win for the industry, as it would add value to carcasses.

Improved returns

UFU pork and bacon chairman Norman Robson added: “Access to this market should boost returns for processors. 

“Farmers will now look forward to seeing this added value distributed fairly along the supply chain.”

The deal follows a series of inspections by representatives of China’s Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) team, plus separate checks by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China (AQSIQ).

Philippines deal

The agreement with China comes hot on the heels of a deal to allow exports of British beef to the Philippines – expected to be worth more than £30m over five years.

The UK had previously only had approval from the Filipino authorities to export pork, lamb and poultry.

The new deal follows a successful inspection of UK control measures in November 2016.

NFU chief livestock adviser John Royle said the Philippines’ announcement came at just the right time, when farmers were seeking government and supply chain support to open up new markets for British meat.

However, he added: “While access to the Philippines has been agreed, it will still take time to develop this new market for British beef.

“We will therefore be looking for continued help from both the government and the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board to help exporters reach the predicted sales value of £34m.”