July 5, 2018
China lifts 20-year ban on British beef imports
More than 20 years after the Chinese government first imposed a ban on British beef in the wake of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow disease) outbreak, the June 27 lifting, according to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), "is the culmination of several years of site inspections and negotiations between UK and Chinese government officials".
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 in 2017.
"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", said Environment Secretary Michael Gove.
Food exports from the UK reached over £22 billion last year, a record figure. UK food and drink businesses are now selling their products to 217 markets.
China's announcement will allow official market access negotiations to begin, a process which may take around three years.
"We will now begin the work on the export protocols and approvals to allow commercial shipments to begin", said Dr Phil Hadley, the international market development director of the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).