Chinese pork market targeted by Bord Bia in new export effort
BORD Bia says it wants Irish pork producers to carve out a bigger market share in China, which it calls an "increasingly critical" region for the industry.
The agency is specifically targeting Chengdu in western China and Guangzhou in the south, in a new tender message to market research companies.
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China is the world's largest market for pork, and recent events could open the way for greater demand for Irish products.
US pork exports to China have been hit by the trade war between the countries, while millions of pigs have died recently in China because of an outbreak of African swine fever.
Last year, 21pc of Irish pork exports, or 59,000 tonnes of meat, went to China, making it Ireland's second-largest market after the UK. However, Bord Bia said Irish pork commands just a 0.1pc share of the Chinese market.
It added that the competitiveness of the country's pork in China has been hampered by unstable supply to regional wholesale markets, "making it difficult for Irish products to sustain awareness and demand".
But the agency said that Ireland also benefits from competitive advantages.
"It is well-positioned to serve the specific demands of small and medium-sized companies in China," it said in its message to companies hoping to clinch a contract to study opportunities in the Chinese pork market.
Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, has a population of almost eight million. Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, has more than 13 million people.