Sheepmeat talks and building on beef key for minister in China

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, will lead a trade visit to Shanghai and Beijing in China this week.

The aim of the visit is to strengthen trading relationships and create opportunities for the Irish agri-food and drinks sector, and in particular Irish beef.

Sheepmeat access

The visit will include a Government-to-Government meeting, to advance market access priorities, including sheepmeat access, and to discuss the recent announcement of an EU-China agreement on Geographical Indicators, which is very positive for Irish whiskey and Irish cream.

Commenting, Minister Creed said: “This visit will build on the recent approval of an additional tranche of 14 beef plants to export to China, with a total of 21 beef plants are now approved to export.”

Following a process of negotiations over several years, market access for Irish beef was announced in April 2018, with exports commencing that summer. By the end of 2018 over 1,200t, valued at €2.3 million, had been exported.

Minister Creed said: “Exports this year have already risen to 4,600t, valued at over €21 million, to the end of August, based on latest available CSO trade statistics.

“With the approval of the additional plants allowing for greater supply, there is now significant potential for future growth,” he added.

Minister Creed will be accompanied by senior officials from his department, and Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia.

Strategy

Also speaking in advance of the visit, Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy said: “The upcoming trade visit represents an exciting next phase in our strategy where we will build awareness and drive sales of Irish beef by forging new relationships and deepening existing links with key Chinese food service and eCommerce customers.

Our 2020 marketing strategy for China will systematically build the reputation of food brand Ireland among Chinese customers and consumers; starting with the announcement next week of a major promotion that will place Irish beef front and centre with Chinese consumers.

Concluding, Minister Creed said: “In line with the market development theme of our shared Food Wise 2025 strategy for the sustainable growth of the sector, increasing access, developing and expanding our exports to China is a priority for my department, working in close collaboration with Bord Bia, the Irish Embassy and the agri-food sector as a whole.”

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