The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed will lead a trade visit to Shanghai and Beijing this week, with a view to strengthening trading relationships and creating opportunities for the Irish agri-food and drinks sector, and, in particular, Irish beef.
He said that this visit will build on the recent approval of an additional tranche of 14 beef plants to export to China, with a total of 21 beef plants are now approved to export.
It will include a Government-to-Government meeting, to advance market access priorities, including sheepmeat access, and to discuss the recent announcement of an EU-China agreement on Geographical Indicators, which is “very positive” for Irish whiskey and Irish cream.
Following a process of negotiations over several years, market access for Irish beef was announced in April 2018, with exports commencing that summer. By the end of 2018, over 1,200 tonnes, valued at €2.3 million, had been exported.
'Significant potential for future growth'
“Exports this year have already risen to 4,600 tonnes, valued at over €21 million, to the end of August (based on latest available CSO trade statistics).” the Minister outlined.
“With the approval of the additional plants allowing for greater supply, there is now significant potential for future growth”.
Minister Creed will be accompanied by senior officials from his Department, and Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia.
2020 marketing strategy
Speaking in advance of the visit, Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy, said, “Chinese market access and beef plant approvals spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture Food & Marine, alongside Bord Bia’s intensive Chinese market insight work over three years, have laid the foundation for long-term growth in the Chinese market.”
“The upcoming trade visit represents an exciting next phase in our strategy where we will build awareness and drive sales of Irish beef by forging new relationships and deepening existing links with key Chinese foodservice and eCommerce customers.”
She said that Bord Bia’s 2020 marketing strategy for China will systematically build the reputation of food brand Ireland among Chinese customers and consumers; starting with the announcement of a “major promotion” that will place Irish beef "front and centre with Chinese consumers”.
The Minister for Agriculture stated that increasing access, developing and expanding exports to China is a priority for his Department, working in close collaboration with Bord Bia, the Irish Embassy and the agri-food sector as a whole.”