UK beef and lamb body seeks to open Chinese market

By Oli Haenlein

- Last updated on GMT

Securing access for lamb and beef will not happen overnight
Securing access for lamb and beef will not happen overnight

Related tags International trade Beef Lamb

UK beef and lamb levy body Eblex is hoping to replicate the success of the country’s pork sector in opening up exports to China.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and China’s Premier Wen Jiabao signed an agreement, which allowed five processing plants to start exporting pork to China back in 2011. Eblex is currently trying to mirror this successful blueprint for the benefit of the UK supply chain.

Addressing a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary China Group (APPCG) in Westminster, London, Eblex head of trade development Peter Hardwick said there were huge opportunities for UK beef and lamb in China.

Hardwick also covers pig exports for UK pig body Bpex, so has a thorough understanding of how to secure market access to China. He told the meeting about the challenges and processes involved, explaining that obtaining access for beef and lamb was a key priority.

Hardwick said: "Exports and helping secure market access is one of the cornerstones of Eblex’s work. While we are mindful of global market volatility, the market in China clearly presents tremendous opportunities for the UK. Our experiences in securing market access to China for pork have clearly demonstrated this and it is a success story we would like to replicate for beef and lamb.

"In particular, there are huge opportunities for products such as fifth-quarter, which have limited demand in the UK, enabling us to add more value to the carcase. As such, it’s important to keep the subject on the agenda at the highest level and I was delighted to outline the opportunities and challenges to the APPCG."

While there is lots of excitement in the industry for business in China, with the Chinese market said to be potentially worth £39 billion to UK food and drink manufacturing this year, Hardwick urged patience.

"It must be remembered that securing market access for beef and lamb will not happen overnight though and there is still some way to go in the negotiating process. We will, however, continue to work with Defra and UKTI in these negotiations, which will hopefully reap rewards for the entire supply chain in the future,"​ he said.

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