UK organic companies will be able to export to China in a "cheaper and simpler" way through a new trade deal with Beijing, according to The Soil Association.

China's organic certification body, Organic Food Development Centre (OFDC), and the Soil Association, the organisation that certifies suppliers in the UK, have signed an agreement that will see help British exporters ship products to the growing market.

"This agreement makes it easier for UK organic business to export to China as it allows Soil Association to handle contact with the Chinese side on licensees' behalf," the UK organisation told just-food. "The Soil Association will discuss the requirements with applicants, progress applications, arrange the inspections and undertake them alongside OFDC, who will then review them, make the certification decision and award the certification. The agreement also makes it cheaper to export to China, as inspections will be grouped; the cost of bringing OFDC inspectors to the UK will be shared between many licensees, where in the past each prospective exporter had to bear this cost individually."

The Soil Association said demand for organic products in China was "growing rapidly" and estimated the market would be worth US$7.8bn by next year.

Emma Yeats, senior certification officer at the Soil Association, said: "This new partnership comes at a time where there is positive growth in both the UK and Chinese organic markets and exports of UK organic produce to China can really flourish."

Demand for organic products in China is growing rapidly, with the market estimated to be worth US$7.8bn by 2015, indicating that China’s consumers are increasingly looking for food and products they can trust. The partnership will allow Chinese organic consumers to access more high quality UK organic produce, as well as enabling UK Soil Association certified organic businesses, who saw strong growth of 6% in 2013, to export to this major market.