Push for pig trotter deal with China

A potential pig trotter export deal to China, which could be worth up to £50m to the UK economy, is being pushed by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson this week.

Paterson is assisting Prime Minister David Cameron on his trade mission to China, which is expected to tot up around £130m in UK export deals.

Major inroads for pork exports from the UK and China were made in June 2011, before a landmark £50m deal went ahead in May last year.

Paterson’s talks this week could see the original and economically important pork agreement extended. “Pig trotters at home will often go to waste, but in China they are a real delicacy. Opening an export market for trotters worth £7.5m will be a further boost for our farming industry on top of the deals we have made on pig semen and cuts of pork last year,” Paterson said.

Pork exports to China have risen dramatically and, in the first six months of this year, increased by 591% compared to the first two quarters of 2012.

The Environment Secretary said he wanted to press forward with the trotter deal and with other trade deals to create an “enduring legacy of lucrative export opportunities” for British businesses.

As part of this push, Paterson also signed a trade agreement for pig semen, which will allow people in China to farm British pig breeds – a market estimated to be worth £45m to the UK economy by the farming sector.

Paterson also said he planned to progress trade negotiations for other British commodities, such as poultry meat, pet food and event horses, said to be worth a combined £130m to the UK economy.

Mick Sloyan, Bpex director, said the news to export pigs’ trotters would be a boost to the industry. He explained that the deal could be worth £7.5m a year to the sector and explained that the Chinese market was one Bpex was especially keen to develop.

“Bpex and Defra have been working in partnership over many years to gain access to the Chinese market and the Prime Minister’s visit is an important step in developing that trade even further. Though there is agreement in principle, it will still be some time before the deal is finally tied up as Chinese vets need to visit the UK.”

Meanwhile, Jack Dobson, joint managing director for Dunbia, is also in China on the Prime Minister’s trade mission.

The deal was agreed during the Prime Minister’s visit to China and is reported to be worth £7.5 million a year.

UK food and drink in figures:

  • The UK food and drink industry contributed more than £96bn to the UK economy last year;
  • Nearly 4m people employed by the UK food industry;
  • The UK’s largest manufacturing sector, creating more than 8,500 new products annually;
  • Food exports from the UK have increased by nearly 50% in the last decade, worth £18.2bn.