Ireland Begins Beef Exports To China

Ireland Begins Beef Exports To China

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed says after years of hard work, the Chinese authorities this morning confirmed access for Irish Beef exports.

There are hopes that approvals for five more will follow soon.

Irish agri-food exports to China have increased five-fold over the past eight years and were worth an estimated €974m last year, including €667m in dairy and €100m in pigmeat exports.

Donegal Meat Processors in Carrigans has been fully approved by the Chinese authorities along with Larry Goodman-owned ABP plant in Clones in Co Monaghan and Slaney Meats based in Co Wexford have also been approved.

"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", he said.

As a result of increasing urbanisation and higher disposable income, consumer demand for premium imported beef is forecast to rise over the coming years, which could see Irish agri-food exports increase dramatically.

This opens up a market of nearly 1.5 billion people, of which even a fraction could help offset uncertainties arising from Brexit.

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Meat Industry Ireland Director Cormac Healy said it was an "important breakthrough", adding: "We now understand that the way is clear for the first three beef processing plants to commence exports of frozen beef to China".

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

"This is the biggest market in the world, and it has the potential to be for the beef industry", the minister said.

The broadcaster said those factories are ABP in Nenagh, Kepak Clonee, Liffey Meats, Dawn Meats Charleville and Kildare Chilling.

All of the visiting Chinese delegates had the opportunity to visit Irish beef farms and processors, giving them a first-hand experience and insight into Irish food production.

"This is a market of almost 1.5 billion people so a small part of that market can deliver huge rewards", Creed said.

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