China to lift its longstanding British beef ban

China has today lifted its longstanding British beef ban, in a landmark move for British producers estimated to be worth £250 million in the first five years alone.

The Chinese government first imposed a ban on British beef in the wake of the BSE outbreak more than 20 years ago.

Today’s milestone is the culmination of several years of site inspections and negotiations between British and Chinese government officials.

A new market for beef

China is currently the UK’s eighth largest export market for agri-food, with over £560 million of food and drink bought by Chinese consumers last year.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “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.

It is the result of painstaking and collaborative work by industry and the Defra team over many years.

“Today’s milestone will help to unlock UK agriculture’s full potential and is a major step to forging new trading relationships around the globe.”

British agri-food exports are worth £22bn

The Government, and its team of trade specialists, continues to encourage and support UK businesses as they consider launching into overseas markets or expanding their current global customer base.

Food exports from the UK continue to soar with record exports of over £22 billion in 2017. Our food and drink businesses are now selling their products to 217 markets.

Today’s announcement will allow official market access negotiations to begin – a process which typically takes around three years.

It follows the Prime Minister’s trade mission to China earlier this year, where she agreed on new measures to improve market access to China.

It also follows a successful inspection visit in April 2018 hosted by Defra and the Animal Plant Health Agency, the Food Standards Agency, Food Standards Scotland, DAERA, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and the UK Export Certification Partnership.