British beef could be served on Chinese dinner plates by the end of the year, following an agreement reached today between China and the UK.
The move could be worth an estimated £230m for British producers in the first five years alone, and comes more than 20 years after the Chinese government imposed a ban on UK imports of beef in 1996.
The UK-China Beef Protocol was signed today by Farming Minister Robert Goodwill and the Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming as part of the tenth Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD) between the UK and China, securing market access for UK beef exporters by the end of 2019.
International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said: “Today’s step is welcome progress for our world-leading British beef producers, who will soon be able to export their products to one of the world’s largest economies, supporting local jobs and bringing millions of pounds to the UK economy each year.
“This comes as a result of years of hard work across Government, including at the Department for International Trade, and marks the next step in realising our global trading ambitions with unbeatable British food. As we leave the European Union, we will continue to break down market access barriers to make it easier for UK businesses to trade across the world.”
Farming Minister Robert Goodwill said: “This is a major coup for our world-class food and farming industry, and a landmark move which could be worth £230m for British business in the next five years alone. Today’s milestone reflects our ambition to maximise new trading opportunities across the world and become a truly Global Britain as we leave the EU.”
The announcement comes after China recently approved five British pork plants to export products to China, which will build on a market which is already worth £70m per year.
China is currently the UK’s eighth largest export market for food and drink, with more than £610m worth of products bought by Chinese consumers last year.