LONDON – An agreement worth millions of pounds for the UK economy allowing the export of British breeding pigs to China, home to half of the world’s pig population, was signed recently by Vince Cable, business secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) –
a UK government department. This deal, plus future business stemming from the agreement, is valued at around £45 million (US$73 million) to the British pig industry over the next five years.

“This agreement gives a valuable boost to the British pig industry and is already delivering results. It is through the hard work of UK Trade & Investment and the successful Tradeshow Access Program alongside the work of the British Pig Association and DEFRA’s partnership approach with the UK livestock industry that this deal has been secured,” Cable said.

“This will open the doors in China for the export of the UK’s world-leading breeding pigs, which are bred and raised to some of the highest welfare standards,” Agriculture Minister Jim Paice added. “Along with Scotch Whisky’s new protected status and the pork export agreement, this will mean opportunities worth around £160 million (US$258 million) for UK food and farming businesses over the next few years.”

The Business Secretary signed the agreement alongside Minister Zhi Shuping from China’s Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).

Pigs will soon begin to be flown to China, marking the first export of British breeding pigs to China for three years. With artificial insemination techniques, an adult boar can sire 6,000 piglets a year. Two British firms, JSR Genetics based in Yorkshire and JJ Genetics in Cambridge, are already planning to expand their business in China on the back of the deal.

An agreement has also been reached on health certification to allow a start to be made on the export of UK pigmeat to China. The British Pig Executive says that pig meat exports to China have the potential to rise to over £40 million (US$65 million) per annum if all UK meat processing plants are approved.