China lift on British beef ban to ‘unlock UK agriculture’s full potential’
The move means the UK will be allowed to begin official market access negotiations after several years of site inspections between Chinese and UK government officials.
China banned UK beef from being exported to the Asian market due to several outbreaks of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) across the sector during the 1990s.
In April, the UK’s Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) said it had renewed talks with China’s agriculture officials to lift the BSE ban, which it said would bring “huge benefits” to UK producers.
Following today’s decision, the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) secretary Michael Gove said this was a major step to forging new trading relationships around the globe.
“This is fantastic news for our world-class food and farming industry and shows we can be a truly outward-looking Britain outside the European Union,” said Gove. “It is the result of painstaking and collaborative work by the industry and the DEFRA team over many years.”
China is the UK’s eighth-largest export market for agri-food, with over £560m-worth of food and drink bought by Chinese consumers last year.
AHDB said it would begin work on export protocols and approvals to allow commercial shipments to begin.
“This marks an important milestone in growing our meat exports to this all-important market,” said AHDB’s international market development director Phil Hadley.
“Today’s news follows years of collaboration between AHDB, government and industry to make this a reality, and we now look forward to seeing UK beef exported to the country for the first time in over 20 years.”