The Ballymena economy will benefit from a major food trade deal with China, it has emerged.
Ballymena based food processing company Cranswick has been approved to export its pork products to China.
The plant was approved for trade, which is thought to be worth £10million a year, after a rigorous certification process.
The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Cllr Paul Reid said it will boost business not just in the local area but across Northern Ireland.
“This is not just great news for the Borough in terms of job security, but also for economic growth and pig farmers.
“The agri-food sector is one of the largest in Mid and East Antrim and it’s great to see a boost like this for the Borough to help build a better economy here for all our citizens.
“This important milestone will hopefully be the start of even more good news to come for Cranswick as further markets are explored.
“Ballymena has a strong manufacturing base which employs many people throughout the Borough which needs to be protected. News like this helps reassure businesses that Mid and East Antrim is open for business and a sound investment.”
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Chief Veterinary Officer, Robert Huey said, “The commencement of pork exports to China, including exports of trotters, will represent a major boost for the local pork industry.
“By recommending approval for Northern Ireland, the Chinese authorities have recognised the rigorous standards we have in place to produce our high-quality, safe and wholesome pork. We place a clear emphasis on traceability at the heart of our production and processing and recognise that a joined up, safe and efficient food supply is essential.”
It’s hoped the move will boost the UK food industry by £200million and shipping will start in the next few months.