A large Irish delegation is on its way to China today on a major trade mission led by Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The region is a major importer of agri food and fisheries products and this mission provides Irish companies with an exciting opportunity to increase their profile in China and build relationships with potential business partners and buyers. The Trade Mission will cover five major cities in five days with a total of 50 key engagements. Some 37 Irish companies will accompany the Minister on the mission, along with senior officials from his Department and from State Agencies in the agri food and fisheries sector.

Speaking before his departure, The Minister stated that Ireland and China have already forged strong links not only in terms of trade but also in terms of cooperation in the agri-food and fisheries areas.

He said Ireland sees China as a key strategic trade partner.

“China has a strong demand for imports of quality food, given the size of its population and concerns over food security and safety and Ireland is strategically placed to be a key supplier of quality meats, dairy products, beverages, seafood and other products and services to China/Hong Kong. Already in the first six months of 2014 Ireland exported over €405m in dairy, meats, beverages seafood and hides and skins to China compared with a figure of €300m for the same period in 2013. This is tremendous progress in a very short period of time, and this mission is about building on that momentum,” he said.

The key focus will be;

  • Progressing market access for Irish beef;
  • Showcasing Ireland as a source of high quality sustainably produced dairy products;
  • Expanding opportunities for our seafood sector;
  • Promote Ireland as strategic partners for agri-food and agri-services; and,
  • Facilitating and fostering increased business opportunities for Irish companies.

This Trade Mission is part of an ongoing drive to further develop Ireland’s trade relationship with the second biggest economy in the world. It follows on from Minister Coveney’s successful visit to China in April 2012, and a number of reciprocal visits to Ireland by high ranking members of the Chinese Government, including Chinese President, Mr Xi Jinping, over the last number of years. It will further cement the relationship with key Chinese political and commercial players and facilitate market access for Irish agri-food and seafood exports to China. Progressing the beef access issue will be a key mission objective.