Food marketing agency Bord Bia is to intensify its campaign to promote Irish beef now that beef exports to China are to resume.

Earlier today (Thursday, January 5), the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) confirmed the resumption of Irish beef exports to China.

Beef shipments to China were suspended in May 2020 following the confirmation by DAFM of an isolated case of atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

Bord Bia CEO, Jim O’Toole, has welcomed the lifting of the suspension by the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC).

“Today’s news is warmly welcomed by Bord Bia and the Irish beef industry at large,” he said.

“The resumption of trade is very timely given Bord Bia launched a three-year €1.3 million EU beef and lamb promotion last month to promote the safety, sustainability, and natural values of beef and lamb to Chinese consumers and customers.

“This campaign will intensify in the months ahead and run until May 2024.

“Throughout the suspension period, our office in Shanghai has been working hard to maintain strong trade relationships with our customer base in China.

“In response to today’s announcement, we’ll be working closely with our industry and their key partners in market to support the relaunch of Irish beef in China,” he added.

Bord Bia campaign for Irish beef

Bord Bia has said that it will also activate an Irish beef relaunch campaign, which will include trade seminars, chef demonstrations and media influencer activity to ensure all potential opportunities are explored.

In the coming months, Bord Bia will also participate in two high profile meat trade shows – the China International Meat Industry Exhibition (CIMIE) scheduled to take place in April and SIAL China, taking place in May.

Speaking from Shanghai today, Bord Bia’s China manager, Conor O’Sullivan said: “Today’s news is coming at a time when China is reopening up after nearly three years of tight Covid-19 controls.

“There is a renewed optimism in the market, an eagerness to do business and prospects for growth are strong.

“Favourable market conditions, coupled with the reopening of the foodservice sector in China, where Irish product was previously most commonly placed, means Ireland is well positioned to rebuild our beef trade with China,” he explained.

According to Bord Bia, following the granting of access in 2018, Irish beef exports to China rose from just over €2 million in 2018 to almost €40 million in 2019, the last full year of trade.

In 2020, beef exports were on track to far exceed 2019 levels, with January to May figures having more than doubled compared to the same period in the previous year, according to Bord Bia.