Bord Bia forecast that there is potential for the Chinese market to import 25,000 to 30,000 tonnes of Irish beef with a value of up to €120 million by the end of next year.
China, it said, represents a "valuable" long-term market due to the "ongoing" rise in beef demand which has seen imports double over the last two years.
It noted that longer-term forecasts suggest that import demand will be around 2.2 million tonnes by 2025, compared to 700,000 tonnes in 2017.
"Subject to this demand remaining at anticipated levels, and continued positive access terms, China could become the 5th-6th largest market for Irish beef and on par from a volume perspective, with markets such as Germany."
The Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine, Michael Creed T.D. led a trade visit to China this week, which included Bord Bia's CEO, Tara McCarthy, and officials from the DAFM. The delegation visited Shanghai and Beijing for a series of "high-level" engagements.
A retail promotion for Irish beef with Chinese online retailer, JD.com, China's second-largest online platform with over 320m annual customers, has been announced.
'Same positive trajectory'
Commenting on the trade visit, Minister Creed said: “We are confident that beef exports, which were worth €9m in 2018, and €21 million for the first eight months of this year, will follow the same positive trajectory as exports of Irish dairy, pigmeat and seafood to China."
Tara McCarthy, CEO, Bord Bia, commented: “Bord Bia’s research, running in tandem with the market access strategy led by the Minister and his Department, means that Bord Bia and its industry partners are ready for swift in-market execution on foot of this increased access."
We know that food safety and provenance are key consumption drivers in China, and Bord Bia’s Quality & Sustainability Assurance Schemes provide the government approved standards required in this market to promote trust."
"This, combined with our branded promotional activities, will now focus on building recognition of quality-assured Irish beef. "
"In this market where the demand continues to grow – we are confident that China will become a major destination for Irish beef into the future, generating potential volumes of 25-30,000 tonnes," she concluded.
Minister Creed also held a bi-lateral meeting with Vice Minister Hu of the General Administration of Customs China (GACC) where Ireland’s application for sheepmeat access was discussed.
Future marketing initiatives
Bord Bia announced that there will be a series of future marketing initiatives aiming to raise awareness of Irish beef among chefs and consumers.
Mr Wang Zhiqiang, General Manager of Meat and Frozen Food from JD.com, signed an MOU at the Embassy of Ireland, Beijing with Bord Bia for the ‘Double 12’ promotion.
Mr Wang said, “We are delighted that Ireland has chosen us to launch their first country-level promotion of Irish food."
"JD’s Double 12 promotion campaign provides an excellent opportunity to fully support Irish beef and other food products, further expanding the range of quality food available to Chinese consumers.”
Launching the JD.com partnership, Tara Mc Carthy, CEO of Bord Bia, said: “Bord Bia will launch a series of B2B and B2C marketing activities in the coming months and into 2020 focusing on meat, dairy and seafood that will further build ‘food brand Ireland’ recognition in the Chinese market”.