Securing beef market access to China: Where does Ireland stand?

It is hoped that Ireland is now in the final stages of the process to secure beef market access to China, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed has confirmed.

The minister made the comments in response to a recent parliamentary question from Fianna Fail TD Brendan Smith.

He outlined that securing beef market access to China is a “very high priority” for his department.

Commenting on the matter, Minister Creed said: “My department has made significant progress in moving towards agreed access in recent years.

“Important steps include the lifting of the BSE ban in respect of Irish beef in early 2015, and the systems audit carried out by the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) in January 2016.

“The report for that visit was received following my trade mission to China in September 2016. In April 2017, together with the AQSIQ Minister Zhi Shuping, I signed a protocol on the requirements for frozen beef to be exported from Ireland to China,” he said.

A plant inspection visit by the Chinese Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) took place in August and September of last year, the minister added.

CNCA have recently provided us with a draft report on their visit, which is now under consideration by staff in my department as a matter of priority.

“My department met with the industry last week to discuss the next steps, and will continue to work closely with industry to ensure that the requirements outlined in the protocol are met,” Minister Creed said.

In conclusion, the minister explained that department officials will continue to liaise closely with their Chinese counterparts – to provide every assurance in relation to the quality and safety of Irish beef.

“We hope that Ireland is now in the final stages of the market access process with China.

“However, despite this significant progress, the pace of market access will be largely determined by the Chinese authorities and not by my department,” he said.