By Claire West

Business Secretary Vince Cable today signed an agreement worth many millions of pounds for the UK economy that will allow the export of British breeding pigs to China, home to half of the world’s pig population.

This deal and future business stemming from the agreement is valued at around £45 million to the British pig industry over the next five years.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“This agreement gives a valuable boost to the British pig industry and is already delivering results. It is through the hard work of UK Trade & Investment and the successful Tradeshow Access Programme alongside the work of the British Pig Association and Defra’s partnership approach with the UK livestock industry that this deal has been secured.”

Agriculture Minister Jim Paice said:

“This will open the doors in China for the export of the UK’s world-leading breeding pigs, which are bred and raised to some of the highest welfare standards.

“Along with Scotch Whisky’s new protected status and the pork export agreement, this will mean opportunities worth around £160 million for UK food and farming businesses over the next few years.”

The Business Secretary signed the agreement alongside Minister Zhi Shuping from China’s Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).

Pigs will begin to be flown out shortly, marking the first export of British breeding pigs to China for three years. With artificial insemination techniques, an adult boar can sire 6,000 piglets a year.

Two British firms, JSR Genetics based in Yorkshire and JJ Genetics in Cambridge, are already planning to expand their business in China on the back of the deal.

Agreement has also been reached on health certification to allow a start to be made on the export of UK pigmeat to China. The British Pig Executive says that pig meat exports to China have the potential to rise to over £40 million per annum if all UK meat processing plants are approved.