Fresh trade agreements allowing exports of UK pigs to China could be worth millions of pounds to the Scottish economy.
Richard Lochhead Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs welcomed the re-opening of potentially lucrative livestock markets with China following a ten-year closure.
Trade was suspended between the UK and China due to animal health issues including the global H1N1 outbreak. Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond discussed the resumption of import protocols with Shuping Zhi, Deputy Minister for General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), when he visited Beijing in July.
Mr Lochhead said:
“Re-opening trade with China is fantastic news for Scottish farmers and exporters. Scottish pig exports can now resume and this could lead to lucrative new markets with the potential of bringing in millions of pounds for the industry.
“Both breeders and processors stand to benefit from gaining access to such a significant customer base. Scotland has a long standing reputation for producing quality livestock and our high health status should help ensure that a large proportion of the farms providing breeding pigs for export to China are based here.
“There is already £1 million worth of orders in place for Scottish stock and more could be made in royalty payments and contracts over the next five years. I know the pig industry in Scotland is primed to make the most of this exciting export opportunity.”
Managing Director of Scottish Pig Producers Ltd, Gordon McKen said:
“This is excellent news for the industry in Scotland as it opens up new opportunities for the export of our breeding stock. Scotland has a reputation for a high health herd and we are in a good position to take advantage of the new protocol.
“This agreement could also lead to the eventual export of other products and that’s certainly to be welcomed.”
Following negotiations, Chinese authorities have agreed to lift trade barriers, reassured by the high health status of UK stock. Up to £40 million in royalty payments and contracts could now be generated across the UK over the next five years.