Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has announced that Ireland has been granted access to export Irish beef to China.
Ireland is the first European beef exporter to secure access to China, where consumers' appetite for the meat is growing steadily. According to Bord Bia, China officially imported more than 700,000 tonnes of beef in 2017 – a figure expected to double by 2020.
In China, annual per capita beef consumption is low at 4-6kg, compared to 19kg in Ireland. However, consumption is on the rise. An average annual increase of just 1kg per capita equates to an additional 1.38 million tonnes of beef per annum, and by 2020, it is estimated Chinese consumers will eat close to 9 million tonnes of beef.
Speaking this week, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed said, "Our agri-food exports to China have increased roughly five-fold from around €200 million in 2010 to nearly €1 billion last year. This has been a remarkable achievement and underlines the importance of the Chinese market. For beef, the door has now been opened and there is a real opportunity for the industry to build on this. I will lead a trade mission to China next month to further build on our trade relationships and continue our dialogue with the Chinese Government."