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14 new beef plants approved for China bringing total to 21. Strong endorsement of Irish standards

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, today announced that following the Chinese audit of beef plants last month, 14 further beef plants have been approved from today to export to the Chinese market.

Minister Creed said I am delighted that all of the beef plants which were audited in September have now been approved by the Chinese Authorities. There are now no outstanding plant applications.

He said ‘this is the strongest endorsement possible of Irish food safety standards, we were the first country in western Europe to achieve access to the Chinese market and now it is clear that our plants are meeting the high and exacting standards of the Chinese authorities. The key ask of industry had been to have more plants approved in order to meet the growing demand coming from the Chinese market. Working together with our meat industry partners, Bord Bia, the Irish Embassy in Beijing and the Chinese Embassy in Dublin, we have achieved this”

Ireland gained access to the Chinese beef market in April 2018, the latest approvals mean that 21 beef plants are now approved to export to China, increasing Ireland’s ability to supply a growing demand in China for premium quality, safe and sustainably produced beef. China is currently Ireland’s fifth biggest market for agri-food exports and has grown significantly over the years. Total agri-food exports amounted to almost €800 million in 2018.  The amount of beef in tonnes exported to China January to August 2019 was 4,651tonnes, a total of  €21.4 million.

Minister Creed said that ‘I am very pleased that I will be welcoming Vice Minister Zou of the General Administration of Customs of the Peoples Republic of China to Ireland next week. This will be an excellent opportunity to engage on our next priority for the Chinese Market which is Sheep meat access.’


Notes for Editors.

  • Total Irish agri-food trade exports to China reached almost €800 million in 2018.  In 2018, China was Ireland’s fifth biggest market overall.
  • Dairy and pigmeat exports were the two largest categories of food exported to China. China is also a growing market for seafood and other food and drink exports.
  • In 2018 dairy exports were €541 million making it the third largest destination for our diary exports.
  • Pigmeat exports to China have increased from €37 million (25,000 tonnes) to €77 million (58,000 tonnes) between 2012 and 2018. China is now the second biggest export destination for pigmeat after the UK. 
  • Within the last 30 years Chinese demand for meat has quadrupled, and the country now consumes one quarter of the world’s meat supply. On average, Chinese beef consumption per capita is 4kg, compared to average Irish consumption of 19kg of beef per capita per year; consumer demand for premium imported beef is forecast to rise significantly, driven by increasing urbanisation, higher disposable incomes and health awareness.



Date Released: 21 October 2019

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