Access granted for Irish beef to be exported to China

Chinese beef market opens to Irish exports

It has been confirmed that the way has been cleared for Irish beef exports to commence to the Chinese market, with the formal approval of the first three Irish beef processing plants.

Speaking during a meeting of European Union agriculture ministers in Luxembourg, Mr Creed said China represented "an enormous potential market".

The opening of the Chinese market to Irish beef exports is "an important breakthrough", according to Meat Industry Ireland (MII) director, Cormac Healy.

It is expected that during that trip the Irish authorities will push for the clearance of the five remaining beef plants which have applied for access to the Chinese beef market but have not yet been approved.

He said: "The opening of this key market presents an excellent opportunity for the Irish beef sector, from farmers through to processors [.] Opening and developing new markets is also a key part of our response to the uncertainties arising from Brexit".

"I understand that the Chinese authorities will list a number of our beef establishments within the next few days", said Mr Creed.

In China, annual per capita beef consumption is low at 4-6kg - compared to 19kg in Ireland. Consumption is on the rise and an average annual increase of just 1kg per capita would equate to an additional 1.38 million tonnes of beef per annum.

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Creed said agri-food exports to China increased roughly five-fold from around €200 million in 2010 to almost €1 billion a year ago.

By 2020, it is estimated Chinese consumers will eat close to nine million tonnes of beef.

Representatives of the meat and agriculture industries have welcomed the news.

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

'We are now well-positioned and ready to maximise this significant opportunity for Irish beef exporters, ' CEO Tara McCarthy said, commenting that China is also Ireland's second largest market for dairy and pork, behind the UK.

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

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