China is the world's largest producer and consumer of pork, but demand has been rising so quickly it has been difficult for farmers to keep up. But now farmers in China hope to meet demand with higher-quality pigs produced through an enormous deal to import pig semen from the U.K.
Until this week, British farmers were prohibited from exporting pig semen to China under that country's biological safety rules. But the floodgates should soon open, thanks to a deal that is expected to be worth up to £45 million, or $73.6 million.
“We’re doing all we can to ensure that businesses up and down the country reap the rewards from our relationship with China. And that includes our pig farmers," a Downing Street spokesperson said to the Guardian, according to Shanghaiist. “This new deal to export pig semen will mean Britain’s best pigs will help sustain the largest pig population in the world.”
Under the new deal, which will begin in the first quarter of 2014, pig semen can be shipped to China in fresh and frozen forms.
Environment secretary Owen Paterson is also working on negotiations to export British pigs' feet to China, where they're a popular and high-end delicacy.
"We're not stopping there, we're talking to the Chinese about serving up pigs trotters on Beijing's finest dining tables," the Downing Street spokesperson said. "That would be a real win-win — a multimillion pound boost for Britain and a gastronomic treat for Chinese diners."