Landmark pork deal between UK and China.

China agrees £50m trade deal with UK.

Photograph: Getty Images

The UK will be able to start exporting pig meat to China, the world's biggest pork market, under a new £50m trade deal.

The ailing UK industry is to start exporting trotters, offal and other parts of the pig that are popular in China but less so in Britain.

The deal has been five years in the making, and talks over lamb and beef are expected to begin soon.

British pig farmers and adjacent industries have been struggling amid constraints by retailers who are trying to push prices lower. The size of the industry has halved in the last 10 years.

Chinese famers can sell pigs for twice as much as British farmers, partly because the "fifth quarter" - the tail, ears and trotters - are eaten, partly because pork is much more popular in China, and partly because the supermarkets have not yet started to squeeze Chinese food producers.

China consumes half the world's pig meat, and demand is growing. It is likely that China will not be able to produce its own supplies in the future.