Irish beef set for Chinese shelves by mid-summer
Six processors cleared for exports — and sheep meat access is next target
Irish beef should be on the market in China by mid-summer - and the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, is challenging the meat companies to maximise its potential.
Speaking at the Irish Embassy in Beijing at the start of a week-long trade mission to China, Minister Creed was reluctant to put a potential value on the Chinese beef market, but he said six Irish processors will have access to it this year.
“I won’t put a figure on it because I think that would be unwise. It’s our function to open the market; it’s the industry’s role to sell thereafter,” Minister Creed said.
However, he pointed out that China is the third biggest export market for Irish food and drink, and that beef will add significantly to overall trade.
While the IFA welcomed the opening of China for Irish beef, its president Joe Healy said access needed to be extended beyond the current confines of boneless and frozen beef from under-30-month cattle.
“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,” he said.
“It is essential that the market opportunity is not restrictive and the protocol is developed to allow beef products from all Irish livestock.”
Mr Healy pointed out that China consumes one-quarter of the world’s meat supply, and imported 700,000 tonnes of beef in 2017. The total beef market in China is expected to double by 2020.