British pork will soon be served in restaurants in Mexico after the UK and Mexican Governments agreed a trade deal worth an estimated £50 million.
The UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said Mexico was the second Latin American market to open for British pork, after the Dominican Republic.
It said global UK pork exports were worth more than £421m last year, reaching 75 export markets across the globe, and figures from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) suggest the Mexican market could be worth £50m to UK pork producers in the first five years of trade.
“It is great to see another market open its doors to high quality, high welfare UK produce,” said Defra Secretary of State, George Eustice.
“Access to the Mexican market, with its substantial demand for high-quality pork, will be a welcome boost for our pig farmers and producers.
“This is a significant development, which will reinforce our global reputation for quality food and drink.”
The trade deal follows more than four years of negotiations and inspections, including visits from Mexican National Department for Health, Safety and Agricultural and Food Quality staff to various UK companies.
This led to a decision to grant export licences to four processing facilities and four associated cold stores in England and Wales.
AHDB international market development director, Dr Phil Hadley, said the export deal was a “fantastic boost” for the UK’s pork industry during a challenging year.
He said: “Pork from the UK is trusted and favoured worldwide due to its exceptional quality, high welfare and food safety standards.
“This new approval will offer a wealth of opportunities for our exporters and is a testament to the hard work of industry and government to open new markets as we look to the future.”
National Pig Association senior policy adviser Charlie Dewhirst welcomed the announcement and said it would bring some fresh opportunities for UK pig farmers.
He said Mexico was the eighth largest consumer of pork in the world and the second largest importer of pigmeat – importing more than 1 million tonnes annually prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Scottish red meat levy body Quality Meat Scotland, which oversees the Scottish pig sector, declined to comment on the deal.