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UK Signs Deal to Export Breeding Pigs to China

by 5m Editor
8 November 2010, at 11:29pm

UK - Britain today signed a deal that will allow the export of its breeding pigs to China, home to half of the world's pig population, the government said.

Citing Reuters, The Business Times reports that the deal and future business stemming from the agreement is expected to be worth around 45 million pounds (US$72.8 million) to the British pig industry over the next five years.

The agreement coincided with Britain's biggest ever trade delegation to China, the world's second-largest economy.

"This agreement gives a valuable boost to the British pig industry and is already delivering results," Business Secretary Vince Cable said.

Mr Cable is part of the British government team visiting Beijing this week. Prime Minister David Cameron will arrive on Tuesday.

The pigs will begin to be flown out shortly, the first export of British breeding pigs to China for three years. With artificial insemination techniques, an adult boar can sire 6,000 piglets a year.

Two British firms, JSR Genetics based in Yorkshire and JJ Genetics in Cambridge, are already planning to expand their business in China on the back of the deal.

Agreement has also been reached on health certification to allow a start to be made on the export of UK pigmeat to China.

British industry officials say that pig meat exports to China have the potential to rise to over 40 million pounds per annum if all UK meat processing plants are approved.

Meanwhile, in Scotland....

This trade agreement could be worth millions of pounds to the Scottish economy.

Richard Lochhead Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs welcomed the re-opening of potentially lucrative livestock markets with China following a ten-year closure.

Trade was suspended between the UK and China due to animal health issues including the global H1N1 outbreak. Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond discussed the resumption of import protocols with Shuping Zhi, Deputy Minister for General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), when he visited Beijing in July.

Mr Lochhead said, "Re-opening trade with China is fantastic news for Scottish farmers and exporters. Scottish pig exports can now resume and this could lead to lucrative new markets with the potential of bringing in millions of pounds for the industry.

"Both breeders and processors stand to benefit from gaining access to such a significant customer base. Scotland has a long standing reputation for producing quality livestock and our high health status should help ensure that a large proportion of the farms providing breeding pigs for export to China are based here.

"There is already £1 million worth of orders in place for Scottish stock and more could be made in royalty payments and contracts over the next five years. I know the pig industry in Scotland is primed to make the most of this exciting export opportunity."

Managing Director of Scottish Pig Producers Ltd, Gordon McKen said: "This is excellent news for the industry in Scotland as it opens up new opportunities for the export of our breeding stock. Scotland has a reputation for a high health herd and we are in a good position to take advantage of the new protocol.

"This agreement could also lead to the eventual export of other products and that's certainly to be welcomed."

BPEX Chairman, Stewart Houston, commented: "This is wonderful news for the industry and something we have really been looking forward to.

"It will offer enormous opportunities for pig meat, particularly with a range of fifth quarter products – the parts of the carcass that command a premium in China.

"We are very grateful for the hard work and spirit of co-operation shown not only by the Chinese but also Defra's international animal health division and the British Embassy and UKTI team in Beijing, to bring these negotiations to a successful conclusion.

"The process did get delayed somewhat by the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 2007 which temporarily halted the talks"“

The process of approving the list of UK pig processing plants for export to China is now nearing completion. A joint Defra and BPEX delegation is due to travel to China on 24 November 2010 and will present several more plants for approval during the trip. Plus, an increasing number of plants are interested in joining the list as a result of these developments.