On the first day of the Trade Mission to China beef Market access was confirmed for a number of additional Irish beef plants.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed met with his counterpart, the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Minister Han Changfu, and also the Minister for a newly established Chinese Agency, the State Market Regulatory Administration, Minister Zhang Mao.
Speaking from Beijing Minister Creed said these were incredibly productive meetings with excellent results.
"A number of additional Irish beef plants and one additional pork plant have now met the required approval standards to export to China.
"This brings to six the number of Irish beef plants that will initially be able to export beef. It is intended to complete the final administrative details to register these plants shortly.
"We also held preliminary discussions around the issues of approval for additional plants as well as the prospect of sheep meat access”
The trade mission comes after the announcement in April of the Chinese market opening for Irish beef.
Despite increases in domestic beef production in China, consumer demand for premium imported beef is forecast to rise significantly, driven by increasing urbanisation, higher disposable incomes and health awareness. Ireland has had pig-meat access to China for over 10 years and China has now become the second largest export market. Pig-meat exports were over €100 million in 2017.
The Minister also noted that another pig-meat plant has also met the approval standards for China. This means that all our major pig-meat export plants will be eligible for export.
China is the world’s largest pig-meat consumer and pork remains the main form of meat consumed here in China.
This trade mission provides the Minister and the Irish industry with a vital opportunity to further develop contacts with Chinese Ministers, Government officials, importers and retailers, and also to promote quality Irish food.
The Minister said: “The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and other agencies are undergoing major structural changes here at present. It has been very useful to get a first hand overview of how these structures will operate as this will enhance our relations and market access work in future.
"Both Ministers agreed on the establishment of an official agriculture working group as part of an agreed comprehensive partnership between Ireland and China which will exchange information in the areas of food safety, sustainability, livestock production and rural development.”
The Minister also had a number of agri-tech meetings organised in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland including with Bimeda, Alltech and Dairymaster.
Day one concluded with a trade reception the at Embassy of Ireland, hosted by Ambassador Eoin O’Leary and Bord Bia, attended by trade mission delegates, Irish and Chinese media and local business leaders.
Speaking at this business networking reception in the Irish Embassy Minister Creed said it is a very exciting time for Chinese-Irish relations.
"I am delighted that we are serving Irish beef here today. We are extremely proud of the quality of our beef, and I am very pleased that it will be available here in the near future.”
European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan insisted there would be "no deal" on Mercosur unless negotiators are fully satisfied strong standards will apply to all produce. It comes as another round of the negotiations on Mercosur got under way in Brussels this week.
MEPs representing the UK’s agricultural communities are “deeply concerned” that Liam Fox has underestimated how difficult it will be to get British farmers a good trade deal after Brexit, according to private correspondence obtained by The Independent.