Minister of State Martin Heydon is “confident” a recently submitted epidemiological report will give Chinese authorities the assurances necessary to reinstate Irish beef access.

At a meeting with a Chinese customs delegation this Thursday, Minister Heydon, who has responsibility for new market development, asked Chinese officials to accelerate their assessment of the report.

“Submission of this report is an important next step in restoring beef market access to China. I am confident that it gives the Chinese authorities the assurances necessary to advance the process of resuming Irish beef exports as soon as possible.

“I urged them to expedite their consideration of this. I also raised our request for expanding access for Irish beef once the temporary suspension has been lifted,” he said.

Irish beef exports to China were suspended on 3 November due to an atypical case of BSE.

Following this suspension, the beef export protocol with China requires the submission and assessment of an epidemiological report, which was submitted on Monday 4 December and is currently being considered by Chinese customs.

High-level delegation

The high-level delegation from the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC) visiting Ireland this week is led by GACC vice-minister Li Kuiwen.

The delegation was given a detailed presentation on the effectiveness of Ireland’s BSE control and surveillance programmes by Department of Agriculture officials, said Minister Heydon.

“Ireland’s agri-food exports to China were valued at over €670m in 2022 and this trade is built on our reputation for producing safe sustainable food.

“Maintaining this relationship is crucial and this visit is about showcasing our world class food production systems,” said Minister Heydon.

During their visit to Ireland the GACC delegation will also visit Bord Bia and a beef farm in Co Kildare, where they will experience beef production at farm level.

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