China approves imports from 3 Irish beef processors - Irish broadcaster

China approves imports from 3 Irish beef processors - Irish broadcaster

China approves imports from 3 Irish beef processors - Irish broadcaster

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed has announced that the Chinese market has been opened to Irish beef, with three factories fully approved by the Chinese authorities and there are hopes that five more, including Kildare Chilling, will follow.

Our exports to China were worth nearly a billion Euro a year ago - even with the beef ban in place.

There will be the first European beef processors to gain access to China.

Creed said the opening of the market will provide "excellent" opportunities for Irish farmers and processors and is a key development amid the uncertainties linked to Brexit.

Now that threat has receded, Chinese consumers are keen to buy more beef and with the high cost of breeding cattle in China leading to insufficient domestic supply, the government has reconsidered its bans.

"Primarily it's a triumph for our beef farmers because they're producing quality, " the minister added.

While beef has been a minority taste in China compared to pork, it is growing in popularity and the country is now the world's second-biggest importer of beef.

China first banned exports of beef from Europe in 2001 in response to the outbreak of mad cow disease and the ban also covered U.S. beef after the disease appeared in the United States in 2003.

The Irish agri-food trade exports to China reached €947 million past year, with the country representing the second-largest market for Irish dairy and pork, reaching €667 million and €100 million, respectively.

"For beef, the door has now been opened and there is a real opportunity for the industry to build on this", said Mr Creed, who is travelling with a trade mission to the massive SIAL food exhibition in Shanghai next month. This has been a remarkable achievement and underlines the importance of the Chinese market. Overall beef imports to China have increased from under 100,000 tonnes in 2012 to around 600,000 tonnes in 2016.

However, the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) said 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, and that all export beef plants are cleared.

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