Ireland and China agree deal to allow direct export of horses

Chinese plans to develop racing and breeding industry is ‘good news’ for sector in Ireland

The Chinese authorities have chosen Irish bloodstock empire, Coolmore Stud, which has operations in Tipperary, the US and Australia, as a partner in the project

The Chinese authorities have chosen Irish bloodstock empire, Coolmore Stud, which has operations in Tipperary, the US and Australia, as a partner in the project

 


The Republic and China have agreed a deal that will allow direct export of horses from here to the world’s second biggest economy, paving the way for a potentially lucrative trade in bloodstock.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine confirmed yesterday that it has agreed a deal with the authorities in the People’s Republic of China that will allow quarantine and pre-export approval of horses bound for Asian economic giant to take place in the Republic under the supervision of its vets. Up to now, any horses sent to China had to undergo quarantine in the Netherlands, an arrangement that added to Irish exporters’ costs.

The deal confirmed yesterday was the next step from a protocol signed last year by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney and vice-minister Wei Chuanzhong, where the two agreed that Irish horses could be exported to China subject to a quarantine period in an Irish facility approved by Mr Coveney’s department.

Key sectors
All types of horses are covered, but one of the key sectors expected to benefit from the move is thoroughbred breeding. China is planning to develop its racing and breeding industries, lead by a project at Tianjin, where there are plans to invest $2 billion in a complex that will include a racecourse, training facilities and stud farming.

The Chinese authorities last year chose Irish bloodstock empire, Coolmore Stud, which has operations in Tipperary, the US and Australia, as a partner in the project.

Coolmore will provide 100 broodmares, sourced in Ireland, to Tianjin over a three-year period to help establish a breeding programme at the centre. There are also plans to acquire stallions for its stud farm.

The Tipperary-based operation, headed by John Magnier, is one of the world’s leading stud farm and racehorse breeding businesses. It owns leading European stallion, Galileo, and champion Australian sire, Fastnet Rock, among others.

One of the other partners in the venture is Desert Star Holdings, a subsidiary of TAK design, controlled by Malaysian businessman Teo Ah Khing, who is also responsible for the racehorse-owning syndicate, China Horse Club, which recently purchased two yearlings in partnership with Coolmore in Australia.

The first group of horses are due to travel to Tianjin later this year. While Coolmore was invited as the initial joint venture partner, the Chinese signalled that there would be opportunities for other companies and individuals.

Mr Coveney said yesterday that the agreement with the Chinese authorities is good news generally for the Republic’s equine industry.