Donegal meat producer among first to enter the Chinese beef market

Donegal meat producer among first to enter the Chinese beef market

That ban was officially lifted three years ago but trade still has not resumed.

Creed added: "Our agri-food exports to China have increased roughly five-fold from around €200 million in 2010 to almost €1 billion previous year".

Michael Creed says after years of hard work, the Chinese authorities will this week confirm access for Irish beef exports.

The average beef consumption per capita every year is 4kg, compared to the average Irish consumption of 19kg per person.

"Over 50% of our beef goes to the United Kingdom, over 250,000 tonnes, so obviously given the fact that we don't know what the future access to that market is going to be, part of our Brexit strategy has been about looking for new markets", he said.

Within the past 30 years the middle class has grown dramatically and Chinese demand for meat has quadrupled, with the country consuming one-quarter of the world's meat supply.

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Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy, said: "Bord Bia, and in particular, our Shanghai office, has been actively planning and preparing for today's breakthrough, and we are now well-positioned and ready to maximize this significant opportunity for Irish beef exporters".

This development means that Ireland has become the first European beef exporter to secure access to China.

Mr Creed has also said he will lead a trade mission to China next month to further build on Ireland's trade relationships and continue its dialogue with the Chinese government.

He added that China is already Ireland's second biggest market globally for dairy exports and for pork exports. The importance of the beef sector to the Irish Agri-food economy can not be underestimated and it is a sector which must be supported develop its benefit to the primary producer.

Minister Creed said that despite the long and "exacting" process of gaining approval by the Chinese authorities, it represented a "powerful endorsement of Ireland's high standards by the Chinese administration".

All of the visiting Chinese delegates had the opportunity to visit Irish beef farms and processors, giving them a first-hand experience and insight into Irish food production.

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