Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

China will allow Irish beef exports

China will allow Irish beef exports

"The opening of this key market presents an excellent opportunity for the Irish beef sector, from farmers through to processors". China is Ireland's third-largest market overall.

Our exports to China were worth nearly a billion Euro previous year - even with the beef ban in place.

China banned beef from the European Union and United States during the BSE crisis in 2000 - that ban was officially lifted three years ago but trade still hasn't resumed - until now. On Thursday (April 12th), the buyers will join 185 Irish food and drink buyers at the Convention Centre Dublin for a major one-to- one business development event involving 5,000 pre-scheduled Ôspeed- datingÕ style meetings.

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

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

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

Michael Creed says after years of hard work, the Chinese authorities are ready to accept Irish meat supplies.

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Meat Industry Ireland (MII), which represents the country's valuable processing industry, described it as an "important breakthrough" after years of intensive efforts.

In China, annual per capita beef consumption is low at 4-6kg, compared to 19kg in Ireland. I will lead a trade mission to China next month to further build on our trade relationships and continue our dialogue with the Chinese government.

China first banned exports of beef from Europe in 2001 in response to the outbreak of mad cow disease and the ban also covered USA beef after the disease appeared in the United States in 2003.

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.

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".

The department will complete the final technicalities to allow trade to begin in the coming weeks.

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