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China OK 30 Irish food firms for exports

Friday, May 02 14:39:09

China has approved all of the 30 Irish food producers that applied for permits to exports their goods.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney welcomed the results today and said that every company that applied for access has been accepted.

"This is further evidence of the value placed on both our dairy exports and our regulatory standards by key markets around the world. This outcome also demonstrates why three of the top four infant formula companies in the world have chosen to locate in Ireland and why we remain the best country for inward investment in the food sector".

China is introducing new food safety regulations which come into force with effect from this week.

"To be allowed to continue to export to China required compliance with these regulations and the Chinese authorities conducted an inspection audit of the dairy production chain, with a focus on infant formula exporting plants, in several countries over the past few months," the Minister said.

He said the audit team visited Ireland in April, prior to which the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine accompanied by industry representatives visited Beijing for discussions with the Chinese authorities.

Irish dairy exports to China were worth some E170m in 2013 which had increased from just E50m in 2011.

The Minister added that "our partnership with China on agri-food issues stems from a common emphasis on the production high quality food underpinned by safety and reliability. I am delighted that this audit result represents a further endorsement by China of the robust food safety and security systems in place throughout the production chain in Ireland. I would like to thank the Chinese authorities for their constructive engagement through this audit process and we very look much forward to deepening our partnership in the future.

Concluding the Minister said. "This approval will allow the Irish dairy sector to build on their already formidable reputation in international markets, and in the increasingly important Chinese market, and to further capitalise on Ireland's reputation for green, efficient, high quality dairy production. The abolition of dairy quotas this time next year will be an historic moment for the Irish agriculture and will mean that the Irish dairy sector can start to fully realise its potential in key markets such as China".