- China lift ham import ban after years of lobbying by Spain’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Ministry.
Spain’s ham shoulders and legs will debut at the China International Import Export in Shanghai, inaugurated by President Xi Jinping’s visit to Spain – deeming it “Spanish caviar.” Andrew Atkinson reports.
SPANISH Serrano ham producing companies are set for a multi-million euros export boost – after China agreed to import complete legs to be imported.
In 2017 China discovered Spain’s gourmet delicacy jamón ibérico, and Iberian ham.
Demand threatened to outstrip supply, leaving Spaniards facing price increases. Then came an import ban.
Folloeing the ban lifting shoulders and legs of Spanish ham were allowed into China in October.
María Naranjo, Director of the Food, Wine and Gastronomy department at the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX), says it took years of lobbying by Spain’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Ministry to convince Chinese authorities to lift the ban.
A request to export the jamon began in 2018, during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Spain.
In September, paperwork was completed and the first whole hams, on the bone, were sent to China in October.
The minimum curing period of the ham takes 313 days.
Pork loin, spicy chorizo sausage and other cold cuts could also be exported to China.
Spain’s ham shoulders and legs will debut at the China International Import Export in Shanghai, which was inaugurated by Xi. Deemed the “Spanish caviar.”
Ham companies Embutidos Fermín and Cinco Jotas are among the first Spanish firms to export into the Chinese market.
Carlos Tórtola, economic advisor and head of trade at the Spanish embassy in Beijing, said: “It’s a product that is exclusive to our gastronomy with characteristics that make it gourmet.
“What’s more, the term ibéricois starting to be associated with quality goods in China, the biggest global market of luxury products.”
Spanish ham and other pork-based cold cuts exported to China in 2014 was worth €2m.
The Chinese Customs Department says is expected to rise to €7m.
Embutidos Fermín and Cinco Jotas are among dozens of companies authorised to sell in China.
“There is a lot of expectation because demand might be overwhelming,” says Santiago Martín, the owner of Embutidos Fermín.
Miguel González, joint owner of family company Castro y González, says China is already their main export market.
With the new regulation, they expect to double the 1,500 bone-in hams they sell currently.
Santiago Martín expects to increase his €12m turnover by 20% in 2020, aided by exports.