Chinese market opened to Irish beef exports

The Chinese market has been opened to Irish beef exports, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has announced this morning.

Commenting on the development, he said: “I understand that the Chinese authorities will list a number of our beef establishments within the next few days.

The opening of this key market presents an excellent opportunity for the Irish beef sector, from farmers through to processors, in line with the market development theme of our Food Wise strategy.

“Opening and developing new markets is also a key part of our response to the uncertainties arising from Brexit.

”This decision also represents a powerful endorsement of Ireland’s high standards by the Chinese administration, for which food safety is a prerequisite for trade,” he said.

Agri-food exports to China

Meanwhile, the minister explained that Ireland’s agri-food exports to China have increased roughly five-fold – from around €200 million in 2010, to nearly €1 billion last year.

“This has been a remarkable achievement and underlines the importance of the Chinese market.

For beef, the door has now been opened and there is a real opportunity for the industry to build on this.

“I will lead a trade mission to China next month to further build on our trade relationships and continue our dialogue with the Chinese government,” he said.

‘Huge effort’

Concluding, Minister Creed thanked all those who contributed to this success, including: officials from his own department and the Irish Embassy in Beijing, who have led this effort; along with Bord Bia; other government departments and agencies; as well as the food industry; and farmers.

“It has taken a huge effort by team Ireland, ministers, departmental and agency officials over several years to get beef market access to China over the line, and I want to thank each and everyone who has made a contribution to this effort.

“There have been a number of high profile visits to Ireland in recent years, including those by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, which played a crucial role. I would also like to particularly thank the Chinese Ambassador to Ireland Yue Xiaoyong and all of our Chinese partners for their ongoing cooperation.

I firmly believe that our beef industry can and will compete effectively in the Chinese market and I look forward to the opportunities that this access will bring.

“In addition to this first tranche of approvals, I am hopeful that a number of other Irish beef plants will not be too far behind,” he said.

The department is expected to complete the final technicalities to allow trade to commence in the coming weeks.