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A new Chinese export deal will be a boost for British breeding.

British horses can now be exported to China, following an agreement between the two countries that has led to the introduction of a new export health certificate (12 September).

It is expected that the first British horses will be exported later this year.

The trade deal, which is estimated to be initially worth £10 million a year to the UK economy, is expected to involve mostly British thoroughbred and jumping horses (news, 17 April).

Horses were previously unable to enter China due to strict regulations — showjumping competitions in the country took place on borrowed horses, and at the Beijing Olympics equestrian events took place in Hong Kong.

But China is a growing force in horse sport and in the leisure market, with 100,000 now riding weekly (news, 13 January 2013).

British environment secretary Elizabeth Truss described it as a “crucial agreement” that would help to grow Britain’s £7 billion equine industry.

“We’ve long been a world leader in racing, eventing and breeding — it’s only right that our historic yet innovative equine industry is able to export its top-quality horses and expertise across the globe,” she said.

Prof Tim Morris of the Animal Health and Welfare Board added: “The equine industry, particularly the breeding sector, welcomes this access to the developing Chinese market.”

The export deal will add to existing UK arrangements, which saw 4,907 equines exported to 36 countries outside the European Union in 2013 — worth an estimated £108 million to the economy.

This news story was first published in H&H magazine (2 October 2014)