Thursday 24 May 2018

Irish goods need to reach China

Madam -- I have just returned from China, where I spent three weeks. My son and his wife, who is Chinese, live and work there. During my stay I was based for most of the time in the city of Xi'an in Shaanxi province, which has a population of about eight million.

During my stay I was asked by several local people prominent in business about Ireland. Not one had ever seen an Irish product in their vast high street supermarkets. I had brought some Baileys Irish Cream and a selection of Irish whiskey. This at least opened a window on these products.

My son suggested we visit a supermarket especially given to imported goods and frequented in the main by ex-pats or better-off Chinese. This supermarket the size of a football ground, is called Metro. I was somewhat relieved to find the Kerry Group represented with its cheese, and many quality Irish whiskeys. However, not a trace of Irish meat products. The Chinese eat a lot of lamb, beef, chicken and pork. In the general supermarkets, liquid milk is imported from Germany -- not a shamrock in sight.

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