China agrees to lift decades-old BSE ban on UK beef


British beef will be back on the menu in China for the first time in 20 years, after the lifting of an import ban, Prime Minister Theresa May announced.

Mrs May, during a keynote speech in Beijing, revealed the Chinese had agreed to lift their on British beef introduced in 1996, after findings of BSE, known colloquially as "mad cow disease", in the UK herd.

The UK prime minister was in China on a three-day trade mission which aims to boost Sino-British relations in preparation for the post-Brexit era.

She said: “We will work together to explore all options to deliver a high level of ambition for the future trading relationship, and have today launched a joint trade and investment review to identify priorities for promoting growth in goods, services and investment.

“To pave the way for this ambitious future trading relationship, we have agreed new measures to improve market access in China and remove barriers to trade, including an agreement to lift 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.”

‘Two-way openness’

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told reporters UK produce, including regional cheeses, would be allowed in to “give Chinese consumers more options in accessing higher-quality agricultural products”.

“Sino-UK relations will not change because of the change in UK-EU relations”, he added.

“The two-way openness will deepen. And China’s door will be open to Britain wider and wider.”


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