Northern Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Michelle McIIveen, has embarked on a week long agri-food trade mission to China.

Minister McIIveen will undertake a series of high profile meetings and visits to build on and further strengthen the existing trade and knowledge sharing links between Northern Ireland and China.

The trade mission will help in ensuring beneficial ties between the two countries as China is becoming an important export market for Northern Ireland, Minister McIIveen said.

“There is no doubt that China is an increasingly important export market for Northern Ireland food producers. There are also many cultural and historic links between our two countries that are continuing to grow.

My visit will help cement these mutually beneficial ties and further propel the overall image of Northern Ireland in what is the most populous country in the world.

“I recently had the pleasure of welcoming a delegation from China’s Jiangxi Province to Stormont, and have had valuable meetings with Chinese Consul General Madam Wang Shuying in Belfast,” she said.

The trade mission has been organised in conjunction with Northern Ireland Executive’s Bureau in China and Invest NI.

Minister McIIveen will also be given the opportunity to give a keynote opening speech to the opening ceremony of the highly prestigious China Yangling Agricultural Hi-Tech Fair.

Among her other engagements she plans to visit local companies participating in the major Food Hotel China exhibition in Shanghai.

The Minister aims to underline Northern Ireland’s commitment to the production of high quality, safe and wholesome food from our unique local environment.

Minister McIIveen also wishes to explore new and existing areas for exchanging knowledge, ideas and experience in the field of research and technology.

While in the Shaanxi Province, the Minister will lead a senior UK delegation in a formal meeting with the Governor Hu Heping and she will also meet the UK Consul General, John Edwards, in Shanghai.

“I will be very proud to lead and represent the Northern Ireland agri-food sector on this hugely important stage,” she said.