Ulster Unionist Party Leader, Robin Swann MLA, has welcomed the decision of China to lift its ban on British beef.
Robin Swann said:
“This is brilliant news, not only in the short-term but for the entire UK beef industry moving forward. China, with the largest population on the planet, has the world’s fastest growing beef market and is heavily dependent on imports to meet the spiraling demand.
“BSE was an awful period in the history of UK agriculture, but it’s in the distant past now and our global reputation for quality food, produced to the highest standard of welfare and traceability, continues to grow with every passing year.
“This breakthrough into the Chinese beef market comes at a very important time for local agriculture as the UK Government continues to struggle to secure a final post-Brexit settlement. I remain absolutely convinced that the future viability of the agri-food sector is also dependent on its ability to locate and secure new export markets. Whilst there has been some minimal progress over recent years, such as the breakthrough into the Chinese pork market, securing final agreements has on the whole been frustratingly slow.
“That is why my Party wants to see a new unit created within DAERA that would work closely with the Veterinary Service to work specifically on advocacy and securing new export markets.
“Whilst persuading the Chinese to lift their ban on UK beef is to be applauded, unfortunately the UK Government were not the first. Ireland already has had full access to their beef market and France I believe are in a position to soon be shipping products as well.
“Nonetheless, even if it we aren’t the only local country selling beef to the Chinese, given the demand there is for it I am confident that this will come as a major boost to the entire British beef industry.”