Donegal beef exports to Chinese market approved

Leitrim TD Martin Kenny welcomes Chinese beef deal

Irish farmers, producers and state agencies have welcomed the news that Ireland has become the first European beef processor to gain access to the Chinese market.

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.

Creed said agri-food exports to China increased roughly five-fold from around €200 million in 2010 to almost €1 billion past year.

Three beef factories have been fully approved by the Chinese authorities - ABP, Co.

If [farmers] continue to produce - as they are - a recognised quality product of worldwide standing, then the world is literally our oyster in terms of the markets we can access.

Continuing, Minister Creed explained that the push to gain market access to China was part of his department's Brexit strategy given that over 50% - or in excess of 250,000t - of Irish beef exports go into the United Kingdom market.

Within the past 30 years the middle class has grown dramatically and Chinese demand for meat has quadrupled, with the country consuming one-quarter of the world's meat supply.

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In China, annual per capita beef consumption is low at 4-6kg, compared to 19kg in Ireland.

It is the culmination of years of talks between Ireland and China and the result of a "huge effort by Team Ireland", said the Minister.

However, the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) said to capture a substantial market share in the Chinese beef market, it is very important that eligibility is secured for all Irish beef products and not just frozen boneless beef, and that all export beef plants are cleared.

Mr Creed said he would lead a trade mission to China next month to further build on Ireland's trade relationships and continue the dialogue with the Chinese government.

CHINA has made the decision to open its markets to Irish beef following years of unsuccessful negotiations.

"I firmly believe that our beef industry can and will compete in the Chinese market".

The minister was confident that this development would prove beneficial and he was excited about the prospects it offered to the Irish beef sector.

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