British farmers will soon start exporting premium pig semen to China in a lucrative deal worth nearly £45 million that was pushed ahead by David Cameron this week as part of a broader agenda to encouraging bilateral trade between China and the UK, the Financial Times reports.
According to the report, the UK is hoping to capitalize on China’s “rocketing appetite” for meat, namely, pork.
China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of pork. The government believes the deal could be worth up to £45m a year to British companies, in combination with live pig exports, although some industry experts say the figure could be substantially less. British companies are currently prevented from exporting pig semen under Chinese biological safety rules.
Downing Street said: “We’re doing all we can to ensure that businesses up and down the country reap the rewards from our relationship with China. And that includes our pig farmers.
“This new deal to export pig semen will mean Britain’s best pigs will help sustain the largest pig population in the world.”
Under China’s past biological safety rules, British companies have been prevented from exporting pig semen into the country, and farmers have long been pushing for a deal to help China fill their increasing appetite for pork which hasn’t been matched by their farming methods.
Since half of the world’s pigs are in China, the premium pig semen can ensure higher-quality pigs without the environmental impact of increased production, according to the Financial Times.
Cameron joked that the deal was like “selling coals to Newcastle,” and referenced a similar deal China made previously with a British company to import gluten-free cooking sauces to China.
British farmers will also begin selling pig trotters to China, a dish considered to be a culinary delicacy (and a favorite among corrupt officials) within the country.
“And we’re not stopping there, we’re talking to the Chinese about serving up pigs trotters on Beijing’s finest dining tables,” a spokesperson was quoted as saying in the Guardian. “That would be a real win-win – a multimillion pound boost for Britain and a gastronomic treat for Chinese diners.”
“It’s a huge trade that’s going to help us towards our target for 2014 of £50m in exports to China,” Chris Jackson, export manager of the British Pig Association, was quoted as saying in the Financial Times report.
[Image Credit: RikkiB]