China hold out to lift UK beef ban
The three-day visit of Theresa May in China would be wise to focus on the substance and yet it’s a sign of the times that the government has interpreted the question so literally, flagging up among its headline successes the possible lifting of a 20 year old beef ban, so that British beef imports can reach Chinese tables. Overall, the package of agreements came in far short of previous visits. Though the mantra of a “golden era” of Sino-British relations was repeated, the shine has come off for both sides.
Livestock farmers in Britain could benefit from a multi-million pound export market to China, which intends to lift its 20-year ban on British beef. The ban on British beef imports, imposed after an outbreak of BSE 20 years ago, could be lifted in the next six months, the country’s premier Li Keqiang suggested. China is also set to import a lot more dairy products from the UK after Brexit the meetings in Beijing offer as result.
Speaking during her trade visit, Mrs May said: “We have agreed new measures to improve market access in China and remove barriers to trade. “This includes an agreement make progress on lifting the BSE ban on British beef exports within the next six months and to an agreement to allow exports of a broader range of dairy products.” If a visit from Chinese inspectors is successful this spring, it could pave the way for more detailed discussions on opening up export markets.