China will allow Irish beef exports

Leitrim TD Martin Kenny welcomes Chinese beef deal

Irish beef is heading to the Chinese market for the first time in 18 years

Irish agri-food exports to China have increased five-fold over the past eight years and were worth an estimated €974m last year, including €667m in dairy and €100m in pigmeat exports.

Bord Bia's Tara McCarthy said it has been actively planning for this access through its Shanghai office and it was testimony to the "reputation" of Irish beef.

Three beef factories have been fully approved by the Chinese authorities - ABP, Co.

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

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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.

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

For beef, the door has now been opened and there is a real opportunity for the industry to build on this, added Creed, who will lead a trade mission to China next month to further build on Ireland's trade relationships.

The government said that several beef producers were expected to be approved to sell to China within days.

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"Primarily it's a triumph for our beef farmers because they're producing quality", Minister Creed told RTÉ's Morning Ireland.

Bord Bia has welcomed the announcement saying Ireland is the first European beef exporter to secure access to China.

Meat Industry Ireland (MII), which represents the country's valuable processing industry, described it as an "important breakthrough" after years of intensive efforts. This has been a remarkable achievement and underlines the importance of the Chinese market.

Within the last 30 years Chinese demand for meat has quadrupled, and the country now consumes one quarter of the world's meat supply. On average Chinese beef consumption per capita is 4kg, compared to average Irish consumption of 19kg of beef per person per year.

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According to Irish broadcaster, RTE, ABP in Clones in Co Monaghan, Slaney Meats based in Co Wexford, and Donegal Meat Processors have all been given approval for access to China, with the hope that five more Irish plants will be given the green light as well.

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