NI gets boost from pig export deal with China

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Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Chief Veterinary Officer, Robert Huey, has welcomed news that Northern Ireland has received final approval to export pork to China.

Mr Huey said the announcement, made by the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) today, was a major boost to the local agri-food industry worth in excess of £10million.

He said: “I am delighted that China’s certification agency, the CNCA has announced its final approval for Northern Ireland plants to export pork to China. I look forward to the commencement of exports. This welcome news follows concerted efforts by DAERA over time working closely with DEFRA in London and Beijing, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, FSA in Northern Ireland, Invest NI and the industry here in Northern Ireland to achieve this outcome.

“Ministerial visits to China by former Agriculture Ministers, O’Neill and McIlveen, in support of our industry were an essential element of this success story. Likewise, continued representation in Beijing by the Director of the Northern Ireland Bureau in China has contributed significantly in ensuring that Northern Ireland agri-food trade objectives are kept to the fore in China. We are also indebted to Madam Wang, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Belfast for her support. This joined up approach between Government, industry and key stakeholders is central to this announcement today.”

The new UK export deal with China will bring a £200million boost to the UK food industry and support 1,500 jobs, according to DEFRA. In Northern Ireland, two slaughterhouses and two cold stores in Northern Ireland have now been given the green light to export pork.

Mr Huey continued: “The commencement of pork exports to China, including exports of trotters, will represent a major boost for the local pork industry. It will expand markets and secure jobs. By recommending approval for Northern Ireland, the Chinese authorities have recognised the rigorous standards we have in place to produce our high-quality, safe and wholesome pork. We place a clear emphasis on traceability at the heart of our production and processing and recognise that a joined up, safe and efficient food supply is essential.

He concluded: “DAERA continues to invest much time and energy into opening new markets to expand the agri-food industry in Northern Ireland. This approval to export pork represents a tangible outcome in DAERA’s long-term engagement strategy with China and also represents achievement in securing access to one of the primary new markets outlined in the Going for Growth initiative.”