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China trade deal could provide timely boost

The chancellor has started negotiations which could provide opportunities for all sectors


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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China trade deal could provide timely boost #Brexit

Chancellor Philip Hammond has begun discussions on a free trade agreement with China which experts believe could provide opportunities for UK agriculture.

 

China is ranked fourth on the list of destinations for UK goods exported last year, with exports valued at more than £18 billion.

And many farming leaders believe the Chinese could be a huge one for British farmers and their products.

 

"We have built a strong economic relationship with China and as Chinese investments into the UK continue to diversify and as UK exports grow, Sino-UK relations are more important than ever," he said.

 

Opportunities

 

AHDB said there were opportunities in China for every sector and Stephen Howarth, AHDB market specialist, said a free trade agreement would help the UK become more competitive for meat exports.

 

"We already have access for pork, in part because most of the countries we are competing with do not have free trade agreements," he said.

 

"It will not increase volume for pork, mainly because we do not have extra volume, but it will increase the value we can get from our exports.

 

"In lamb, we are actively working to open up the market. The main suppliers are New Zealand and Australia. They both have free trade agreements in place so it may help us be more competitive."

 

Sheep

 

China is the world’s biggest importer of sheepmeat and Phil Stocker, National Sheep Association (NSA) chief executive, said there were two potential markets for UK exports within China.

 

"There is the high value, branded products highlighting the full story and provenance to the premium market. These appeal to the affluent consumer in the cities," he said.

 

"There is the off-cut market. They eat all kinds of cuts which we would not eat and all parts of the carcase which would otherwise go to waste."

 

Mr Stocker said while the market would not be open immediately, the timing could be good for the UK.

 

"It is my understanding there is a lot of work going on. There have been Chinese delegates over here looking at our abattoirs," he added.

 

"It will probably be two to four years until the market is open.

 

"This could fall in nicely with Brexit and any uncertainty surrounding our trade agreements with the EU."


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