After 18 years, China has opened its markets to Irish beef

Carrie Guzman
April 17, 2018

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

Irish beef is being allowed back into China.

Despite this, our exports to China were worth nearly a billion Euro past year and Minister Creed says this move will give farmers access to the biggest market on the planet.

"The opening of this key market presents an excellent opportunity for the Irish beef sector, from farmers through to processors".

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".

Ireland's meat processors and Agriculture Minister Michael Creed highlighted the strong potential of the changing consumers' appetites in the Far East, where beef imports are expected to double by 2020.

In February, ABP signed a €50 million deal to supply beef to the restaurant chain Wowprime in self-ruled Taiwan, as well as the Chinese mainland.

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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.

'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.

Ireland was granted a licence to sell beef in the USA three years ago.

Mr Creed will lead a trade mission to China next month to consolidate Ireland's trading relationship with the Chinese government.

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

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.

When asked what the message is now to Irish farmers, he said: "The message is, there are exacting demands in global markets and here is another really, really important market - probably the single biggest in volume terms - which is recognising that we are capable of meeting those exacting and demanding standards".

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