British livestock producers received good news on the eve of the Olympics in Beijing.

China has lifted all the restrictions on imports of livestock and meat from the UK – in place since last year’s foot-and-mouth outbreak.

The news came the day before the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday (8 August).

Olympic stadium beijing

Defra and Animal Health – the UK animal welfare agency – are taking immediate action to agree export health certificates for breeding pigs.

Trade in pig meat, skins, hides, greasy wool and dairy products will re-start as soon as practically possible.

The changes come after a concerted effort by livestock and meat sector representatives, Defra, the Foreign Office and UK Trade Investment.

Olympic stadium beijing

BPEX chief executive Mick Sloyan said: “This is the pig industry equivalent of an Olympic Gold Medal – before the games have even started.”

Exports of pig breeding stock to China were hugely important to UK companies with big orders in prospect, added Mr Sloyan.

“The decision will also give British pig meat producers access to the biggest and fastest growing food market in the world.”