Chinese Beef Exports Welcome, But Brexit Is Still An Issue

Chinese Beef Exports Welcome, But Brexit Is Still An Issue

In January, China said it would lift its ban on British beef but farmers may have to wait years before receiving regulatory approval from Beijing; it took three years from lifting the ban on Irish beef for China to approve imports. 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.

The country is Ireland's third largest market - previous year our agri-food exports there were worth almost a billion Euro.

The Minster said: "The opening of this key market presents an excellent opportunity for the Irish beef sector, from farmers through to processors, in line with the market development theme of our Food Wise strategy".

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

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.

The other issue which is really important is they import and are very interested in, what the industry here would term, the fifth quarter - the product that's probably not as much in demand in the other markets that we are in.

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Rising demand, combined with the expense of domestically produced meat, means China is looking overseas for its beef. 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.

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has confirmed this week that the Chinese market has been opened to Irish beef.

Ireland was granted a licence to sell to the United States three years ago.

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.

Irish Farmers" Association president Joe Healy also welcomed the news but said it is key that the agreement delivers higher margins to farmers and that terms and conditions attached to market access are not "overly stringent'.

"In addition to this first tranche of approvals, I am hopeful that a number of other Irish beef plants will not be too far behind", he added.

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