Sheepmeat access bid receives boost following Chinese talks

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed concluded the second leg of his Chinese trade mission with ministerial meetings in Beijing today, Wednesday, May 15.

Following a meeting with Vice Minister Zhang Jiwen of the General Administration of Customs (GACC), Minister Creed confirmed that the Chinese authorities had agreed an accelerated process for inspection and registration of a further tranche of beef plants – as well as an inspection visit to progress sheepmeat access.

Commenting on the day’s events, the minister said: “Today I submitted further detailed documentation on these plants to the Chinese authorities in a new template following previous technical discussions.

“GACC has now committed to an inspection visit in August 2019 for the further tranche of beef plants.”

With reference to access for sheepmeat the minister noted that the GACC also committed to an inspection visit on sheepmeat in August 2019, which is intended to involve both a systems audit and plants’ inspections.

“I am very pleased that my Chinese counterpart has responded very positively to my two immediate priorities in terms of market access for China; an early approval of the outstanding tranche of beef plants, as well as progressing sheepmeat access.

“The commitment by GACC today to an inspection visit to cover both of these priorities in August this year represents real progress.”

“This reflects both the excellent government-to-government relationships developed through intensive engagement over the past few years; the quality, safety and sustainability of our beef and sheepmeat offering; and the enthusiasm and demand from both Chinese food businesses and consumers for more Irish food products.”

Minister Creed also met his Chinese counterpart, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Han Changfu.

I was delighted to meet Minister Han again. We last met in my home county of Cork and we were able to continue our discussions in relation to technical cooperation and agricultural policy issues.

Minister Creed’s third ministerial meeting was with Vice Minister Ma Zhengqi of the State Administration for Market Regulation, which oversees the registration of formulas for infant milk formula and child nutrition products, a key export category for Ireland in the Chinese market.