The move by China to ban Irish beef exports following a case of atypical BSE in Ireland has been described as disappointing by Minister of State with responsibility for new market development Martin Heydon.

"Due to an atypical BSE case, trade to the Chinese market for beef has had to be suspended. It is disappointing coming so soon after significant efforts were made to reopen the market earlier this year.

“My Department is now working to complete all the necessary work set out as part of our trade protocol. Timing around the reopening of the market is a matter for the Chinese authorities, but we will work to regain access as soon as possible,” he said.

Ireland had only regained access to the market for beef exports in April of this year, following a three-year absence. In May 2020, Irish beef exports were banned after an isolated atypical BSE case.

Market access

The shutdown of the market comes as the minister leads a trade mission to the Philippines, to increase market access for beef.

"Government has been focused on widening market access for beef while continuing to grow the value of exports in existing markets.

“This week, I am leading the first ministerial agri-food trade mission to the Philippines, which has grown to be our largest third-country market for beef.

"It is vitally important that we continue to focus on market diversification, ensuring we have access to the widest possible range of markets for our agri-food offering,” he said.

The atypical case was found in a 10-year-old cow during fallen animal testing at a knackery.

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China suspends Irish beef exports after atypical BSE case