Ireland beef processors gain access to China with three factories approved

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 17, 2018

It is understood three Irish factories have been fully approved by Chinese authorities for export; ABP Clones, Co Monaghan, Slaney Meats in Co Wexford and Donegal Meat Processors.

They banned beef from the European Union and USA during the BSE crisis in 2000, and while that ban was officially lifted three years ago, trade still hasn't resumed.

The news was confirmed by Minister of Agriculture Michael Creed this morning.

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

Cormac Healy, MII Director, said that "this is an important breakthrough for the Irish beef sector and comes after many years of extensive efforts by both the Government and the industry to secure access to the rapidly growing Chinese beef import market".

Overall beef imports to China have increased from under 100,000 tonnes in 2012 to around 600,000 tonnes in 2016.

Average Chinese beef consumption per capita is 4kg, compared to 19kg in Ireland, so there is potential for expansion.

He added that China is already Ireland's second biggest market globally for dairy exports and for pork exports.

"Today's timely announcement follows just days after we hosted the China Meat Association and 17 senior representatives from leading Chinese meat importers as part of our Marketplace International event".

By 2020, it is estimated Chinese consumers will eat close to nine million tonnes of beef, Bord Bia explained. Marketplace 2018 will be the largest worldwide food buyer event ever staged in Ireland, with in-excess of 600 food and drink trade buyers from 52 countries travelling to meet, and do business, with the Irish food and drink industry. "For beef, the door has now been opened and there is a real opportunity for the industry to build on this".

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.

He is due to lead a trade mission to China in May to further build on relations and push for the approval of five more beef plants, which have applied for access but have not yet been approved.

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