‘Pigs’ trotters protocol’ still not implemented

An export agreement to sell pigs’ trotters to China has still not been implemented – two years after it was announced by former Defra secretary Liz Truss.

A Tory party conference speech in 2014 during which Ms Truss said she was “opening up new pork markets” in Beijing was widely mocked on social media.

It was also lampooned by the satirical TV programme Have I Got News For You.

See also: Truss slams ‘disgraceful’ reliance on food imports

Now Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy has used a parliamentary written question to ask Defra what progress has been made on implementing the so-called pigs’ trotters protocol with China.

Defra minister George Eustice replied, saying: “The importance of reaching agreement for the export of UK pigs’ trotters to China continues to be raised at the highest levels.”

Most recently, current Defra secretary Andrea Leadsom had raised the issue during a meeting with the Chinese minister in Beijing last month, said Mr Eustice.

Chinese commitment

The Chinese minister had committed to prioritising the UK application, he added.

Mr Eustice said the UK was continuing to press the Chinese authorities for completion of the UK application to allow exports of UK pigs’ trotters to commence as soon as possible.”

Speaking afterwards in parliament, Ms McCarthy said: “It’s been two years since the then environment secretary announced with great fanfare plans to sell pigs’ trotters to China.”

She added: “As my written question this week revealed, we are still no closer to signing the pigs’ trotters protocol.

“If it takes this long to reach an agreement to sell pigs’ trotters, what does that say about our ability to reach all the other trade deals we need in the wake of Brexit?”

International trade secretary Liam Fox responded: “I’m very intent that our agricultural exports continue apace and I shall continue to push pigs’ trotters as fast as they can possibly go.”

House of Commons speaker John Bercow described this as “a very alluring prospect, to be accomplished by the honourable gentleman, probably not without sweat or emotion.”

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