Irish beef given China approval

Irish beef given China approval

Creed said the opening of the market will provide "excellent" opportunities for Irish farmers and processors and is a key development amid the uncertainties linked to Brexit.

Three Ireland-based beef processors have gained access to the Chinese market, with five more potentially in the pipeline.

Creed said the decision made by Chinese authorities "represents a powerful endorsement of Ireland's high standards by the Chinese administration, for which food safety is a prerequisite for trade".

Meanwhile, the minister explained that Ireland's agri-food exports to China have increased roughly five-fold - from around €200 million in 2010, to almost €1 billion a year ago. This has been a remarkable achievement and underlines the importance of the Chinese market.

Concluding, Minister Creed thanked all those who contributed to this success, including: officials from his own department and the Irish Embassy in Beijing, who have led this effort; along with Bord Bia; other government departments and agencies; as well as the food industry; and farmers.

For Ireland, the deal is also particularly important given the threat to trade with major trade partner the United Kingdom presented by Brexit.

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On average, Chinese beef consumption per capita is 4kg, compared to average Irish consumption of 19kg of beef per capita per year.

The US Department of Agriculture last week, raising by 175,000 tonnes to a record 1.20m tonnes its forecast for Chinese beef imports in 2018, said that "robust demand in China and Hong Kong will continue to grow as stagnant domestic production is unable to fulfil rising consumption".

The Minister concluded: "I firmly believe that our beef industry can and will compete effectively in the Chinese market".

China has already granted access for chilled beef from Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the U.S., from where imports of the meat are now threatened with tit-for-tat tariffs.

Imports to China have increased from under 100,000 tonnes in 2012 to about 600,000 tonnes in 2016.

Other origins gaining access including Belarus, which has gained approval for frozen beef.

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