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Will Ireland get into China's multi-billion euro beef market? We'll find out soon

Chinese officials visited meat plants late last year. A report is now being compiled.

Image: Shutterstock/ChameleonsEye

THE GOVERNMENT WILL soon discover whether the Irish beef industry reaches quality standards required to export to China.

Minister for Agriculture, the Marine, and Food Simon Coveney has confirmed that a group of Chinese officials visited laboratories, meat plants, rendering plants, cattle farms and a feed mill over the course of ten days in December.

“My Department is currently awaiting the report of the visit,” the Minister said in response to a parliamentary question from Independent TD Terence Flanagan.

Earlier this month, Ireland became the first EU country to be granted permission to sell beef to the US market in more than a decade.

Both China and the United States banned imports of beef from the EU in 2000 following the outbreak of BSE, or mad cow disease.

Minister Coveney added:

My Department and the Irish Embassy in Beijing will continue to engage with the Chinese authorities in order to progress this matter with a view to obtaining access to the Chinese market for Irish beef in the near future.

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Minister Coveney has said Irish beef exports to the United States could be worth €100 million this year.

The Chinese beef market is slightly larger than the United States’s, valued at around €50 billion.

China was Ireland’s second-biggest market for dairy last year with food and drink exports to the world’s most populous nation worth over €500 million for the first time.

Read: The Chinese are lapping up Irish dairy – and that means big money for exporters >

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