Access to the Mexican market could be worth up to £50 million to British pork producers in the first five years, according to a UK levy body.

Mexico is the second Latin American market to open access for British pork, and follows the Dominican Republic.

The news comes just days after British government figures showed the total value of UK pork exports fell by more than £4 million in the first half of the year.

According to the latest Revenue and Customs figures, a total of 177,638t of pork has been exported from the UK, worth around £304 million in the first half of 2021. However, both figures are down compared to the year before.

Increased demand from non-EU countries saw other exports increase by 20,029t (up 19.5%). However, it was not enough to offset the reduction in volume from EU buyers, which fell by 35%.

Access to the Mexican market

According to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, access to the Mexican market alone is estimated to be worth £50 million to UK pork producers over the first five years of trade.

Today’s announcement follows over four years of negotiations and inspections. The Mexican National Department for Health, Safety and Agricultural and Food Quality (SENASICA) inspected several UK premises in February 2020, which led to a decision to approve four processing facilities and four associated cold stores in England and Wales.

Pork will join a broad range of livestock genetics that the UK already exported to Mexico. Access for bovine embryos was secured in 2020, joining bovine semen, a market worth over £130,000 annually over the last five years. In addition, Mexico is also a well-established market for UK ovine genetics.

Defra Secretary of State George Eustice said: “It is great to see another market open its doors to high quality, high welfare UK produce.

Access to the Mexican market, with its substantial demand for high-quality pork, will be a welcome boost for our pig farmers and producers.

“This is a significant development, which will reinforce our global reputation for quality food and drink.”

UK deputy chief veterinary officer Dr. Richard Irvine said: “The UK is proud of our high standards of food safety and the quality of food we are able to produce.

“Gaining access for the export of British pork to Mexico represents yet another success for British Industry and continues to enhance our global reputation for excellence.”

UK to negotiate Free Trade agreement with Mexico

The UK and Mexico have committed to begin negotiating a new and ambitious free trade agreement this year, which Defra claims "will go much further" than the existing deal.

These negotiations follow the UK's accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), an increasingly influential trade network of 11 dynamic economies spanning from the Indo-Pacific region to the Americas.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “This is a huge win for our farmers and food producers and I look forward to seeing high-quality British pork being enjoyed in Mexico very soon.

“British businesses can look forward to the benefits of a new and ambitious trade agreement with Mexico, which we will be negotiating this year, and wins like these are an important step towards our accession to CPTPP that will see our global trade hit new heights."