Chinese market opened up to Irish beef

Chinese market opened up to Irish beef

In January, China said it would lift its ban on British beef but farmers may have to wait years before receiving regulatory approval from Beijing; it took three years from lifting the ban on Irish beef for China to approve imports. Inspectors from the China state administration of quality supervision, inspection and quarantine have made regular trips to beef plants in Ireland.

The country is Ireland's third largest market - previous year our agri-food exports there were worth almost a billion Euro.

"The opening of this key market presents an excellent opportunity for the Irish beef sector, from farmers through to processors, in line with the market development theme of our Food Wise strategy".

Frozen boneless beef accounts for about 80 per cent of these imports.

By 2020, it is estimated Chinese consumers will eat close to nine million tonnes of beef.

"For beef, the door has now been opened and there is a real opportunity for the industry to build on this", said Mr Creed, who is travelling with a trade mission to the massive SIAL food exhibition in Shanghai next month.

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

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

Deputy Kenny said, "The opening of the Chinese market is a positive move for Irish beef farmers and I congratulate those involved in negotiating it".

China has seen fourfold increase in demand for meat over the last 30 years, and the country now consumes one quarter of the world's meat supply.

According to Irish broadcaster, RTE, ABP in Clones in Co Monaghan, Slaney Meats based in Co Wexford, and Donegal Meat Processors have all been given approval for access to China, with the hope that five more Irish plants will be given the green light as well.

Average Chinese beef consumption per capita is 4kg, compared to 19kg in Ireland, so there is potential for expansion. Department officials will complete the final technicalities to allow trade to commence in the coming weeks.