Minister claims progress on Irish access to Chinese beef market

Key negotiations on access for Irish beef to the Chinese market took place in China today as part of an Irish Trade Mission to Asia.

Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has welcomed a very positive and constructive engagement with Mr. Zhi Shuping, the senior Minister with responsibility for the Quarantine Inspection Service in China (AQSIQ).

The Minster is a key contact for Ireland when it comes to the negotiation of access for Irish agri-food products to the Chinese market.

The Ministers discussed a range of issues of mutual interest, and committed to continued collaboration in the area of food safety, research and innovation.

Minister Creed raised a number of important technical and certification issues in relation to the pigmeat, dairy and seafood sectors.

There was also a substantial discussion on the question of Ireland’s application for access for beef to the Chinese market.

Speaking after the meeting, Minister Creed said the exchange with Minister Zhi was very positive in terms of moving forward a number of technical issues which can make a difference to Irish companies wishing to trade in China.

“The platform has been laid for further technical engagement between our experts on these issues,” he said.

On beef, Minister Creed said the process of approval is complex, and involves a number of the Chinese Services.

“However, I am particularly encouraged that the Minister has undertaken to ensure that his officials expedite their consideration of Ireland’s application for beef access.

“While there are further steps in the process, I am satisfied that this represents really positive progress, against a background where Ireland was already the first EU Member State for whom the BSE ban was lifted, in 2015.

“Today’s commitment by the Minister to instruct AQSIQ officials to complete a report on a technical inspection carried in January of this year is a welcome breakthrough in terms of furthering our application for access.

This is another milestone on a journey to open opportunities for Irish beef exporters to the lucrative Chinese beef market.”