Access to Chinese beef market moves a step closer
IRISH beef exports could be on their way to China early next year pending the final decision of Chinese inspectors who completed an intensive round of checks on Irish plants last week.
The Chinese team visited a number of processing plants including Slaney Meats in Bunclody, AIBP in Clones and Nenagh, Kepak Clonee, Dawn Charleville, Kildare Chilling and Liffey Meats.
The latest inspections should mark the final hurdle in securing access for Irish beef exports to China with industry sources saying exports could commence early next year. Trimmings and offal are expected to make up the bulk of Irish beef exports to China. These products are currently exported to Hong Kong and the Philippines, but higher prices are achievable in China.
China currently imports 20,000 tonnes of beef offal annually, with Uruguay, Australia and New Zealand being the main sources.
Chinese beef imports are set to more than double in 2017 compared to 2014. In 2014, imports of frozen beef totalled 295,000 tonnes. However, imports to end of May this year reached 269,000 tonnes and are on course to top 640,000 tonnes.
Meanwhile, US teams are expected to visit dairy and meat plants in the coming weeks as part of regular inspections. However, they are also expected to visit plants exporting sheepmeat.