Chinese markets help boost UK meat exports

By Bo Leung in London | | Updated: 2017-09-01 00:04

Chinese imports of British meat helped the UK record strong year-on-year export growth for the first six months of the year.

UK markets in beef, lamb and pork outside the EU showed the greatest success, with sales of 500 million pounds ($640 million), which was a year-on-year rise of 18 percent.

Beef exports to countries outside Europe were up 45 percent to almost 8,000 metric tons, while offal exports rose 21 percent, according to figures from HMRevenue and Customs.

Asian markets have been attributed to the growth in opportunities for beef, lamb and pork to non-EU countries.

Third country pork exports rose by nearly 4 percent in volume to 41,000 tons – of which more than half was to China where there has been a 6 percent rise in exports in the first half of the year, worth 24 million pounds.

"These latest figures paint a positive picture for the meat export industry," said Jean-Pierre Garnier, head of livestock export trade development at the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

"It is very encouraging to see an increase in exports to non-EU countries and a strong progression in value as this is an important area for our meat exports with the challenge of Brexit," he said.

Non-EU exports are expected to rise further following a recent government announcement of a 200 million pounds trade deal for pork access to China and a 34 million deal to export beef to the Philippines.

Seven businesses in England and Northern Ireland will export pork products to China, including three producers that will trade trotters.

"The AHDB recognizes the importance of developing balanced international trade that does not rely solely on the EU," Garnier said. "We understand the challenges that our meat industry faces and we must look at new exports deals and continue to work toward securing access to third countries."

Last month the AHDB was at the Specialty Fine Food Show in Singapore, and attended the world-famous SIAL exhibition in China in May.

In September, it will be present at Asia’s leading hospitality expo, the Restaurant and Bar trade show in Hong Kong.

"We are targeting key markets outside the EU where we are confident meat exports can continue to add value," Garnier said. "Working with government and other organizations in the UK we have been able to help open up markets which have been closed to us for many years."

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