LONDON, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- British red meat exporters are bullish on the Chinese market, which they described as "hugely important" and are seeking closer trade cooperation in the future.
"We consider China to be a very important part of our red meat export portfolio," International Market Development Director Phil Hadley from Britain's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) told Xinhua.
"We have a vibrant and growing pork trade, which continues to grow year on year. The total value of pork exports to China were around 200 million pounds (257 million U.S. dollars) in 2019, and so far this year they are up again," Hadley said.
Hadley said he expected the British beef exports to China to start at the end of this year or early into next year.
"We have ambitious hopes for the beef sector over the coming years," he said.
Last year, China and Britain finalized details of a trade agreement, opening access for the British beef industry to the Chinese market. "We'll finalize our beef paperwork and begin to start shipping shortly," Hadley said.
In order to promote British red meat to the Chinese market, the AHDB and British exports have a stand at two major exhibitions in China -- the 18th China International Meat Industry Exhibition 2020 (CIMIE 2020) and SIAL China 2020 to be held in Shanghai from Sept. 28 to Sept. 30.
Due to travel restrictions as a result of COVID-19, five British exporters promoted their pork and beef through videos and virtual platform during CIMIE 2020, which was held in Qingdao from Sept. 10 to Sept. 12.
"We're having very positive feedback from the show at the moment," Hadley said, "we're very keen and have supported that show (CIMIE) for a number of years. It always provides us with a very good platform to meet with both new and established Chinese businesses and buyers."
AHDB Export Manager Susan Stewart said: "These two shows represent the first time this year that we have been able to reconnect our exporters with key influential buyers in China due to the ongoing challenges of COVID-19."
"China is a hugely important market for our pork exports and it is vital that we maintain our strong relationship with buyers and continue to fly the flag for our red meat, especially as we are on the cusp of shipping beef to China for the first time in over 20 years," Stewart said.
When talking about future trade cooperation, Hadley expressed expectation from British exporters. "We were also in a dialogue with the Chinese authorities around accelerating our sheep meat access. And then on top of that, we also have other opportunities for other lifestyle products, such as dairy," Hadley said.
The AHDB is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by Britain's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It aims to help Britain's livestock, dairy and agriculture sectors and stimulate demand in the British and export markets.
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