UK pig meat deal with China

01-05-2009 | |

The last stages of a complex deal that will lead to UK processors exporting 5th quarter pigmeat to China for the first time look likely to fall into place within the next two months, with the first shipments on their way by the autumn.

Peter Hardwick, Brussels-based international manager for the British Pig Executive (BPEX) is due to meet Chinese officials to discuss the final details of the agreement while he is at the Global Pig Forum in Chengdu on May 14 and 15 – and top Chinese vets are scheduled visit the UK in June to complete inspections of the relevant factories there.

Final resolution
Once the plants have been approved, trade can begin and BPEX was this week hoping for a final resolution before the end of the year.

“It will be the end of a long road,” said BPEX chairman Stewart Houston, who has been fighting for this business since his first meetings with Chinese officials at the World Pork Congress in England in 2003, after one delegate said, “we could use all the 5th quarter you produce”.

He has been to China eight times and hosted several tours for Chinese delegates in the UK since then in his efforts to open this important door to the Chinese market for British producers.

Swine diseases
“We have had to go through all the issues raised by diseases such as FMD and Classical Swine fever in the UK and also meet the various industry leaders and government officials in China who will be involved in this trade,” said Houston, who has taken Chinese delegations to meet UK producers and processors and see how the industry operates there.

While we have persuaded them that our herds are disease-free and our production methods meet all their requirements, it has taken some time to get all the necessary paperwork sorted out and completed to establish the trade links,” added Hardwick, who has also been to China several times and appeared reasonably hopeful earlier this week that success was finally within sight.

The only cloud on the horizon now seems to be the current outbreak of Swine Flu, which could affect international trade links.

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