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Sunday 24 June 2018

'Pace of access will be determined by the Chinese' – Creed on access for Irish beef to China

Photo: Bloomberg
Photo: Bloomberg
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The pace of access for Irish beef to the massive Chinese market is in the hands of Chinese authorities, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has said.

He said China is a high priority for beef market access and significant progress has already been made.

The BSE ban in respect of Irish beef was lifted by the Chinese authorities in early 2015.

This was a very positive development which paved the way for the start of the process to secure access.

The Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) then carried out a systems audit in Ireland in January 2016.

In April 2017 together with the AQSIQ Minister Zhi Shuping, the Minister signed a Protocol on the requirements for Frozen Beef to be exported from Ireland to China.

The signing of this Protocol was another significant step towards securing beef market access.

A veterinary health certificate based on this Protocol is being finalised and will be submitted to the Chinese Authorities shortly.

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In response to questioning from Fianna Fails Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue, the Minister said in August 2017 my Department hosted an audit visit from the Chinese Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) who undertook a series of plant inspection visits in order to assess the applications by Irish beef processors to gain access to the Chinese market.

“Feedback from the audit team was broadly positive and we are now awaiting the official report of their audit visit.

“Despite this significant progress, the fact is that the pace of market access will be determined by the Chinese authorities, and not by my Department. 

“My officials continue to liaise closely with their Chinese counterparts to ensure every assurance is provided in relation to the quality and safety of Irish beef,” he said.

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