BMPA chief executive Nick Allen believed that the decision was good news for all parts of the supply chain and followed years of collaboration between government and industry officials to make this a reality.
“It will be fantastic to see UK beef exported to the country for the first time in over 20 years,” said Allen. “We look forward to seeing the export protocols and approvals being settled as quickly as possible, so that commercial shipments can start.”
The milestone move, which was announced by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) this week, is estimated to bring in around £250 million in trading for British producers over the next five years.
DEFRA paid tribute to UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who conducted a trade mission to China earlier this year, where she agreed new measures to improve market access.
The decision was also hailed by the international trade secretary Liam Fox, who said the decision was a huge coup for British businesses that wanted to access global trading opportunities as the UK begins to leave the European Union.
“My international economic department has worked hard to secure agreement from our Chinese counterparts to access one of the largest global markets,” said Fox. “This is a crucial step on our role in becoming a truly ‘Global Britain’.”
The decision was also praised by the Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland (LMC), who said the red meat industry is looking forward to developing exports to China.
"LMC works strategically with UK Government and industry representatives within the UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP) to help prioritise, secure and maintain market access to countries outside the European Union for UK meat and livestock producers," said LMC chief executive Ian Stevenson.
According to GlobalMeatNews’ State of the Industry report, the Asian market continued to be a key focus with a 230% increase in the volume of high-value, UK chilled beef exported to Hong Kong in the last year, more than triple the value of the market just two years ago.