An agreement to progress lifting the BSE ban on British beef exports to China is a vital first step in unlocking this major market, which could be worth £250 million in the first five years, according to AHDB.
New measures to improve market access to China were announced by Prime Minister Theresa May this week – in a move which could see beef from the UK exported to the country for the first time in over 20 years.
It is anticipated the BSE ban could be lifted within six months if a visit from Chinese inspectors this spring is successful, clearing the way for detailed discussions and the completion of a five-step process to open the Chinese market to British beef.
The news has been welcomed by AHDB, which has been working on the market access in the region for a number of years, and is good news for exporters keen to look to new, non-EU markets.
AHDB Head of Exports Peter Hardwick said: “The announcement is a vital first step in unlocking this major market for beef without which we could not progress to the substantive approval process.
“This agreement comes after an intensive programme of inspections and visits by the Chinese authorities over the last two years, led by AHDB in collaboration with government and industry organisation.
“It is still an ongoing process but we will continue to play a key role in helping to steer discussions to ensure we unlock the full potential of the Chinese market for beef producers here in the UK.”
The announcement came on the first day of the Prime Minister’s three-day trade mission to Beijing, where she was joined by senior business leaders and industry representatives including AHDB Chief Executive Officer Jane King.
During her visit she held meetings with members of the Chinese government and other industry leaders where products ranging from pork to malting barley were discussed. Jane raised the urgency of lifting the beef ban with both the Prime Minister Teresa May and Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox. Both indicated it was a government priority.
AHDB has previously helped secure access to China for pork and for barley.