Ritchie seeks answers on pork exports to Taiwan

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SDLP MP for South Down, Margaret Ritchie, has written to the Defra Minister seeking answers on why Northern Irish pork farmers are still waiting for access to Taiwanese markets

Ms Ritchie said: “In August last year the Taiwanese Council of Agriculture submitted an information request to the UK government seeking clarification on the HPAI status of British pork-sector following a HPAI-case reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health in July 2015. To date, the Taiwanese government states it has received no response, which has prevented Taiwan from accepting British and Northern Irish pork products.

“If this is accurate, it draws into question the Secretary of State’s claims that Defra is doing all it can to open up new export markets for our farmers. With the global market already so competitive, Northern Irish farmers cannot afford to miss out on a market of 23 and half million potential customers.

“This also draws into question the role and purpose of the UK Export Certification Partnership and their relationship with Defra That is why I am today calling on Secretary of State to determine why Taiwan has not been provided with the information they require and to ensure this information is sent at the earliest possible opportunity.”