Chinese authorities to visit Irish beef plants in the coming weeks

A group of Chinese inspectors is set to visit a number of Irish beef plants later this month, AgriLand can reveal.

Members of the Chinese Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) are due to arrive in Ireland during the last week of August to inspect a number Irish beef processing facilities.

This visit is a step in the right direction for Irish beef exporters’ hopes of accessing the lucrative Chinese market. And, a successful outcome would further advance the process of opening the market to Irish beef.

This is particularly important as China was the second-largest importer of beef on the global stage in 2016. In addition, Chinese beef imports are expected to reach 1.2 million tonnes by 2025.

Back in April, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed said it’s “a case of when, rather than if” when it comes to accessing the Chinese market with Irish beef.

He made the comments following a meeting with the the Chinese AQSIQ Minister Zhi Shuping, who has responsibility for the Chinese Quarantine and Inspection Service.

At the time, both minsters signed a formal protocol on beef exports to China. The protocol specifically focused on frozen beef under 30-months-of-age.

US beef moves a step closer to accessing China

American beef exports to China are set to resume again after a 14-year absence, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced in June.

The US has reached an agreement with Chinese officials on export protocols, which will allow for shipments to begin.

China’s beef imports have increased from $275 million in 2012 to $2.5 billion in 2016, according to the USDA. China was the second-largest importer of beef in the world last year, taking in 825,000t.

However, the US has been banned from China’s market since 2003. China implemented the ban on US beef amid concerns about BSE.

Following negotiations, it has been agreed that US beef exports to China must meet specified requirements under the USDA Export Verification (EV) Programme.