Yesterday China lifted its longstanding ban on imports of beef from the UK, in a move which could be worth an estimated £250 million to British producers in the next five years.
More than 20 years after the Chinese government first imposed a ban on British beef in the wake of the BSE outbreak, the development is the culmination of several years of site inspections and negotiations between UK and Chinese government officials.
It now allows official market access negotiations to begin, a process which usually takes around three years.
China is currently the UK’s eighth largest export market for agri-food, with over £560 million worth 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."
International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said:
"Today’s announcement is a huge coup for British businesses who want to access global trading opportunities as we leave the EU.
"My international economic department has worked hard to secure agreement from our Chinese counterparts to access one of the largest global markets. This is a crucial step on our role in becoming a truly Global Britain."