Pigs will fly, the old saying goes, and for Britain, pork exports to China have given the economy a boost, government environment secretary Elizabeth Truss announced Friday.
Global pork exports from Britain have rocketed 44 percent in the last five years generating almost 334 million U.S. dollars a year for the British economy, the minister said.
Truss said the pork industry was given a significant boost after the British government opened up pork trade with China in 2012. The exports to China are now worth 47 million dollars each year.
Visiting the country's biggest pork exporter, Cranswick Country Foods in the Hull (Northern England), Secretary Truss praised the industry for grasping export opportunities and leading the way in new Chinese markets, setting a gold standard for the rest of the UK food industry.
She said exports of British pork around the world are up from 149 million pounds in 2010 with China being by far the biggest international export market for British pork.
Truss said: "UK food has an excellent reputation the world over, and China presents a fantastic opportunity for our farmers to take advantage of a growing demand for top-class British produce."
"China is now one of the UK's fastest-growing export markets ... Pork is a significant British export, along with whisky, salmon, and fresh fish," said Truss.
In January, Truss visited China to discuss opening up the market further for British exports and expanding the number of British plants that can export pork to China.
As part of the trip, she discussed pigs trotters, which could bring an additional 11.7 million dollars a year for the British pork industry; negotiations with China are currently ongoing, she said.
The new UK Agriculture and Food Counsellor, Karen Morgan, has been tasked with driving greater access to China's growing food market.
This paves the way for the dairy industry where British dairy products are in growing demand. Dairy exports to China are now worth over 37 million dollars and infant milk formula and processed cheese could present an opportunity for British producers to diversify.