Ireland is the second largest exporter of infant formula to China, accounting for a market share of 17%, according to Bord Bia.

In the first half of 2015, it said that Irish exports amounted to 13,100t.

China’s imports of infant formula grew strongly in the first six months of the year reaching 74,966t which Bord Bia said is an increase of over 27% on the same period last year.

It said that this is a turnaround from 2014, where volumes decreased during a year of uncertainty in the regulatory environment.

The Netherlands, is the largest importer of infant formula to China and accounts for a market share of 34%, according to the Bord Bia figures.

It saw its volume increase during the period by 50%, which it said is largely attributed to the success of the Nutrilon and Friso brands in the market.

South Korea experienced a significant lift in market share to 5%, where it benefited from the signing of an FTA with China earlier this year.

Despite the overall slow down in China, infant formula imports are expected to increase year on year from 2014, according to Bord Bia.

In 2014, China’s demand for agri-food imports continued to increase, although at a lower rate (+3%) compared to growth rates registered in the past, according to figures from the EU.

They show that the low rise in import values and a faster growth in exports (+6%), resulted in a reduction of the agri-food trade deficit by €2 billion in 2014 (now at €48 billion) compared to the previous year.