FINLAND - The Finnish meat industry has been given the go-ahead to export pork to China.
Atria and HKScan, two Finnish companies, have gained permits to export pork to China.
Finnish Agriculture Minister Petteri Orpo said the meat exports to China may, in the long term, offset the losses caused by import restrictions levied by Russia.
Exports to China will be viable despite the costs of the long transportation chain, local media reported.
HKScan pork slaughtering plant in Forssa will be receiving the export certification from the Chinese food authorities following inspections carried out in August 2014.
The launch of Finnish pork exports to China will be a major milestone in HKScan’s strategy to expand its export footprint, said Jukka Nikkinen, head of HKScan’s exports and Away from Home business.
Direct exports of Finnish meat to China were not possible before certification.
In addition to pork, HKScan has long-range plans to begin exporting other meat products suited to local culinary preferences. These include poultry meat, processed meats and convenience meals.
“We devoted much time and effort into preparing this export project together with the authorities. The strong support of the Finnish authorities and close collaboration between our industry, political decision-makers and officials have been crucial to its progress”, added Mr Nikkinen.
“After the forthcoming official export certification, we will continue our efforts to gain similar approvals for Swedish exports.”
HKScan exports pork to a number of EU countries and to long-haul markets including New Zealand and Japan. Russia was formerly another major export destination. The opening of a new export market for Finnish foodstuffs is important in the wake of the import bans imposed by Russia last January.
Markku Hirvijarvi, a director from Atria, said the decision was "a very positive message", Finnish national broadcaster Yle reported.
Last summer, Chinese officials toured Finland and inspected slaughterhouses and meat processing facilities.
Besides pork, the Finnish food industries are also seeking possibilities of exporting other food products. However, any fast relief to the dairy sector is not expected from the Chinese market, Yle reported.
The Finnish dairy industry has been hard hit by Russian import restrictions, levied as anti-EU countermeasures after the crisis in Ukraine.
TheMeatSite News Desk