Coveney heads up trade mission to China

Key focus of mission will be securing access for Irish beef

Simon Coveney: “China has a strong demand for imports of quality food given the size of its population and concerns over food security and safety”

Simon Coveney: “China has a strong demand for imports of quality food given the size of its population and concerns over food security and safety”

 

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney leads a delegation of 37 Irish companies to China this week, on a five-day trade mission to a market of growing importance to Irish food producers.

Ireland sees China as a key strategic trade partner. China has a strong demand for imports of quality food, given the size of its population and concerns over food security and safety,” Mr Coveney said.

In the first six months of this year, Ireland exported over €405 million in dairy, meats, beverages, seafood, and hides and skins to China. This was up from €300 million in the same period of 2013.

Cities on the itinerary include Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao and Hangzhou and the key objective is to secure market access for Irish beef.

Beef from the EU has been barred from China since 2000 following the BSE crisis and Ireland has been leading the push to have the 14-year ban lifted.

“This has been the subject of discussion between Ireland and China at the highest political levels over the last two years. We have made good progress and I will again be seeking substantive progress on the issue in my meetings with Chinese political counterparts next week,” said Mr Coveney.

He will also pursue access for Irish lamb and poultry.

Other objectives include showcasing Ireland as a source of high quality, sustainably-produced dairy products, and expanding opportunities for the seafood sector. The mission will also promote Ireland as strategic partners for agri-food and agri-services.

Dairy market

“I will also be launching a number of premium dairy Irish products which are going on sale in China,” he said.

He will open the largest-ever Irish pavilion at the China Seafood & Fisheries Expo in Qingdao, which features representatives from 11 Irish seafood companies.

Irish food and drink exports to Asia are estimated at €611 million for 2013, an increase of over 30 per cent on the previous year.