Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has announced the opening of the Chinese beef market to exports from Ireland.
Ireland is to have access for frozen boneless beef.
It is understood three Irish factories have been fully approved by Chinese authorities for export; ABP Clones, Co Monaghan, Slaney Meats in Co Wexford and Donegal Meat Processors.
Five other plants have applied for Chinese approval but have not yet got the green light; ABP in Nenagh, Kepak Clonee, Liffey Meats, Dawn Meats Charleville and Kildare Chilling.
"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," said Minister Creed.
"Opening and developing new markets is also a key part of our response to the uncertainties arising from Brexit.”
The minister continued: “Our agri-food exports to China have increased roughly five-fold from around €200m in 2010 to nearly €1bn last year. For beef, the door has now been opened and there is a real opportunity for the industry to build on this. I will lead a trade mission to China next month to further build on our trade relationships and continue our dialogue with the Chinese government.
I firmly believe that our beef industry can and will compete effectively in the Chinese market and I look forward to the opportunities that this access will bring
“There have been a number of high-profile visits to Ireland in recent years, including those by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, which played a crucial role. I would also like to particularly thank the Chinese ambassador to Ireland Yue Xiaoyong and all of our Chinese partners for their ongoing cooperation.”
The minister said: “I firmly believe that our beef industry can and will compete effectively in the Chinese market and I look forward to the opportunities that this access will bring.
"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.”
The department will complete the final technicalities to allow trade to begin in the coming weeks.
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