Senior Officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, have held productive technical meetings with counterparts in Beijing, in relation to meat market access and other topics of mutual interest.
The meetings were facilitated by the Irish Embassy in Beijing and involved senior officials from two key Chinese Ministries - GACC (the General Administration of Customs China) and MARA (the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs). At the meeting with GACC, DAFM officials submitted a further tranche of detailed applications from Irish beef plants for approval to export frozen boneless beef to China. Six Irish beef plants already have access, and trade has commenced. DAFM has prioritised the approval process for additional plants at the request of Irish industry, who see a significant opportunity on the Chinese market if the supply side is increased, to enable them to fill larger orders and export greater volumes. DAFM and GACC officials agreed that the priority focus for 2019 would be sheepmeat access. Ireland had previously submitted a detailed questionnaire on sheepmeat, which GACC will now review. When that review is complete, the next steps will include an inspection visit to Ireland.
The meeting with MARA followed a recent successful visit to Co. Cork by the Chinese Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Han Changfu. During that visit Minister met with Michael Creed TD, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and visited to a mixed sheep and beef farm with Minister of State Andrew Doyle TD. The Department had also arranged a two-week Knowledge Transfer programme for MARA officials in Ireland last September, to build relationships and enhance mutual understanding of policy and technical issues. The Chinese side emphasised the importance attached by the Chinese Government to the CIIE (Chinese Import and Export Expo) taking place in Shanghai next week. This Expo, to be opened by President Xi Jingping, will serve as a showcase for China’s commitment to international trade. Chinese officials were delighted to hear that Minister Andrew Doyle TD will attend the Expo, which will feature a significant presence from Bord Bia and several Irish food companies.