China approves 14 more Irish beef plants
This brings the number of Irish plants approved for the Chinese market to 21 following the initial granting of access in April 2018.
The Chinese delegation conducted audits of Irish beef processing plants in September 2019 however producer protests at the time led to delays in this process.
In a statement, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed praised the plants approved and confirmed that “there are now no outstanding plant applications”.
Creed added that the approval was “the strongest endorsement possible of Irish food safety standards”.
“We were the first country in western Europe to achieve access to the Chinese market and now it is clear that our plants are meeting the high and exacting standards of the Chinese authorities,” he said. “The key ask of industry had been to have more plants approved in order to meet the growing demand coming from the Chinese market. Working together with our meat industry partners, Bord Bia, the Irish Embassy in Beijing and the Chinese Embassy in Dublin, we have achieved this”
The amount of beef in tonnes exported to China from Ireland between January to August 2019 was 4,651 tonnes, worth a total of €21.4m.
Meat Industry Ireland (MII) senior director Cormac Healy also welcomed the announcement. “This is a positive development coming after the extensive round of inspection audits of Irish plants by Chinese inspectors at end-August/early-September. A massive amount of work by processors and MII has gone into getting to this point. The huge efforts of the DAFM Market Access team should also be recognised.
“This announcement builds on the progress made during 2018 and earlier this year which saw seven beef processing sites secure access to China.”
“Building access for Irish beef and other meats to international growth markets is crucial to maximising market returns to the entire sector, particularly when faced with challenging internal EU market conditions.
“MII will work with the Department of Agriculture and members to ensure the final paperwork is promptly completed in order to clear the way for exports to commence from these sites and to extend the list of eligible products that can be traded”.
It’s been a busy summer for the Chinese authorities, in September 25 plants in Brazil were approved for export while earlier this month, a beef trade deal between China and Britain that is worth £230m over five years was finalised.