Ireland has become the first European beef exporter to secure access to China, where demand for beef is expected to double by 2020.

According to Bord Bia, China officially imported more than 700,000 tonnes of beef last year and this is expected to grow to 1.4m tonnes by 2020.

Chinese consumption of beef is low, at 4-6kg per capita annually compared to 19kg in Ireland. However it is on the rise.

Each extra 1kg in consumption per capita equates to an additional 1.38m tonnes of beef required per year. By 2020, it is estimated Chinese consumers will eat close to nine million tonnes of beef.


Welcoming the clearance of Irish beef to China, Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy, said: “Bord Bia, and in particular, our Shanghai office, has been actively planning and preparing for today’s breakthrough, and we are now well-positioned and ready to maximise this significant opportunity for Irish beef exporters."

Farm visits

“All of the visiting Chinese delegates had the opportunity to visit Irish beef farms and processors, giving them a first-hand experience and insight into Irish food production,” added McCarthy.

“The opening of Irish beef access is testimony to our industry’s strength, reputation and proven track record in the Chinese market.”

Last year, Bord Bia won a contract to promote EU beef and lamb in China, Japan and Hong Kong in a campaign valued at €3.75 million, to run until 2019. The timing will be beneficial to Ireland’s beef exporters.

As part of the campaign, Bord Bia and leading Irish beef exporters will attend five major beef trade exhibitions – two in Japan, one in Hong Kong and two in China, including SIAL China, the largest food trade fair in China, next month.

Minister Creed and Bord Bia will lead an agri-food trade mission to China in May, where the Minister will visit the SIAL China to help promote Irish beef and pork among the Chinese audience.

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