Taiwan opens doors to British pork exports

Taiwan will open up to British pork exports for the first time in the next few months.

Imports to this market are growing rapidly, rising by 26% last year to £138m.

The deal means UK exporters can further tap in to overseas demand for parts of the pig carcass that are not commonly in demand in the UK, such as offal, potentially raising whole carcass values.

“We estimate the value to the UK to be in excess of £50m based on current UK export capacity, but if this were to rise to match the strong demand for pork imports in Taiwan, the opportunity could be worth more than £100m over the next five years,” said the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s (AHDB) international market development director, Dr Phil Hadley.

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Exporters will be able to begin trade from Defra-approved establishments once eligible organisations are listed by the Taiwanese and export health certification has been finalised and released.

Individual establishments do not need to be inspected by the Taiwanese authorities – the UK government can put forward eligible firms.

UK pork exports were worth £290m last year, reaching more than 80 markets.

The UK government worked with the AHDB and UK Export Certification Partnership (Ukecp) on the deal, which follows after China lifted its two-decades ban on UK beef exports, instated after the BSE outbreak.

This agreement will allow official market access negotiations to begin, with beef exports to China estimated to be worth more than £250m in the first five years alone.

The value of UK food and drink exports reached a record £22bn in 2017.

Taiwan pork potential

  • Pork consumption in Taiwan, at 35-40kg a head a year, is one of the five highest rates.
  • The country’s domestic production expansion rate is constrained by increasingly stringent pollution controls.
  • Production was hit hard by a huge foot-and-mouth outbreak in 1997, closing export markets and resulting in the slaughter of 30% of the country’s pigs (c3.8 million head).
  • The number of pig farms fell by almost half from 25,300 in 1997 to 12,000 in 2004, with smaller farms failing.
  • A 2014 outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED) further reduced herd numbers to 8,137 by the end of that year.