The Minister for Agriculture Food & Marine, Michael Creed TD on Friday concluded a week-long Agri-Food Trade Mission to China, having met with the Director of Agriculture Fisheries & Conservation, Dr S.F. Leung in Hong Kong.
Minister Creed said, “Hong Kong is a significant market in its own right with a population larger than the island of Ireland with a requirement to import 98% of its food consumption.
“Renowned as global financial centre with a highly developed economy and a GDP per capita of $46,000, Hong Kong is an obvious target for greater trade opportunities. With access to the Chinese beef market now secured there are opportunities to build our food exports here even further.”
Opening New Export Markets
Minister Creed left for China on Sunday with his delegation team when he said that this mission was of vital importance as the need to strengthen its trading relationships with other countries to counter the the threat of Brexit was necessary to create opportunities for the Irish agri-food sector to grow.
Creed met with his Chinese counterpart, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Minister Han Changfu, as well as the Minister for a newly established Chinese Agency, the State Market Regulatory Administration, Minister Zhang Mao, early in the week for “incredibly productive meetings with excellent results”.
On the back of these early meetings, a number of additional Irish beef plants and one additional pork plant have now met the required approval standards to export to China. This makes six Irish beef plants eligible to export beef to China.
He also met with Mr. Zou Zhiwi, Vice-Minister of the General Administration of Customs China, and senior agency officials in Beijing to negotiate terms of market access for Irish exports. It was revealed that there is a significant restructuring of Chinese trade authorities underway, but Mr. Zou Zhiwi assured Minister Creed that it will lead to an enhanced co-operation and simplification of systems in the future.
China International Import Expo
Minister Creed signed a memorandum of understanding and committed to an Irish presence at the China International Import Expo which is to take place in Shanghai in November. The event will be personally driven by the President of China, Xi Jinping, will have an expected attendance of 185,000 Chinese buyers.
Minister Creed said, “An event such as this, which is being promoted by the Chinese Government, offers the ideal opportunity for Irish food exporters to do business and enhance relationships.”
Irish companies like Bord Bia and Enterprise Ireland also signed the memorandum, and committed to having a stand in the Exhibition Food Hall.
Before traveling to Hangzhou, where he met with the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, Minister Creed met with several Chinese dairy companies, such as Wyeth, Newbaze and Beingmate, where he held high level meeting in order to further raise the profile of Ireland’s dairy exports.
Clear Ambition From The Biggest Market
Concluding on the week's events, Minister Creed said, “It has been an excellent week in the development of our ever-growing partnership with China. Being present at one of the World’s largest food trade exhibitions and having met with three Senior Ministers and three Vice-Ministers over the course of the week I am extremely grateful for the level of access granted to our delegation by the Chinese authorities.
“There is a clear ambition on both sides to further build co-operation between Ireland and China on many levels including trade. Against the backdrop of Brexit, market diversification is crucial for the Irish Agri-food sector. As markets and opportunities go there are none bigger than China and in that regard, this has been a very good week indeed for Ireland’s food exporters.”
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.