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Chinese beef market opens to Irish exports

17 April 2018

Total Irish agri-food exports to China have more than doubled over the last five years as they moved close to a billion euro last year.

"I understand that the Chinese authorities will list a number of our beef establishments within the next few days", Creed said this morning in a statement.

According to Bord Bia, China officially imported more than 700,000 tonnes of beef in 2017 - a figure expected to double by 2020.

In 2000 China, along with the United States, banned imports of beef from the European Union because of mad cow disease.

"The opening of this key market presents an excellent opportunity for the Irish beef sector, from farmers through to processors".

In February, ABP signed a €50 million deal to supply beef to the restaurant chain Wowprime in self-ruled Taiwan, as well as the Chinese mainland.

Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy, said: "Bord Bia, and in particular, our Shanghai office, has been actively planning and preparing for today's breakthrough, and we are now well-positioned and ready to maximize this significant opportunity for Irish beef exporters".

Rising demand, combined with the expense of domestically produced meat, means China is looking overseas for its beef.

"Primarily it's a triumph for our beef farmers because they're producing quality, " the minister added.

The Irish agri-food trade exports to China reached €947 million previous year, with the country representing the second-largest market for Irish dairy and pork, reaching €667 million and €100 million, respectively.

"It has taken a huge effort by Team Ireland; Ministers, Departmental and agency officials over several years to get beef market access to China over the line, and I want to thank each and everyone who has made a contribution to this effort".

However, farm lobby groups say it must deliver monies to farmers on the ground, as beef farmers struggle with low incomes.

Mr Creed will lead a trade mission to China next month to consolidate Ireland's trading relationship with the Chinese government.

There are hopes of a further five to follow, and Irish exporters can start sending frozen boneless beef to the world's largest single food market from today.

The average beef consumption per capita every year is 4kg, compared to the average Irish consumption of 19kg per person.

Chinese beef market opens to Irish exports