Denmark, Germany, Canada and the US are China’s biggest pork trade partners but currently can export only live pigs, frozen and fresh pork to one of the world’s fastest growing consumer markets for meat and meat products.
The Danish Embassy in China has confirmed that five new bilateral agreements on food and agriculture include allowing two Danish companies to export heat-treated pork products and also poultry to China. The deal was struck in April during a Danish state visit to China by Queen Margrethe II.
One of the firms given access is the Tulip Food Company and the other is understood to be Tulip’s parent Danish Crown, though they are separate brands and operate as such. Rune Jungberg Pedersen, communication manager at Tulip, said its Danish factories in Svenstrup and Vejle have been approved to export heat-treated products to China.
"We hope to see a steady increase in our sales to China in forthcoming years. However, the approval is still very new, so we are not yet ready to give an estimate on our expected sales performance," he told GlobalMeatNews. "We hope to be able to send the first products to China within the next two months."
Staff at Danish Crown’s branch in Shanghai said they had so far not received any notice from head-office and that the company continued to supply China mainly with live pigs and their by-products, not heat-treated pork products.
Pedersen added: "Overall Danish Crown’s trade with China is stable concerning products traditionally sold on the Chinese market. However, we are seeing a rise in the sales of products for the foodservice sector, which centres around other kinds of products."
He said Tulip is now working to prepare the right range of products for Chinese customers. The Svenstrup factory makes sausages and salami, while Vejle produces canned meats, sausages and liver paté and already supplies sausages to Japan.
There is no news yet of any Danish poultry or poultry products firms preparing to take advantage of the new agreements.