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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 18 May 2021

Simon Coveney wants more Chinese people to eat Irish food

There has been “tremendous” progress in the area over the past 12 months.

Xi Jinping with Simon Coveney during his 2012 trip to Ireland.
Xi Jinping with Simon Coveney during his 2012 trip to Ireland.
Image: Maxwell photography

SIMON COVENEY IS on his way to China, hoping that by the time he returns, he’ll have converted more of the population to Kerrygold and other Irish delights.

The Agriculture Minister is leading 37 companies on a major trade mission to five of the country’s major cities.

The firms are hoping to tap into the world’s second largest economy, gaining access to the 1.3 billion population.

The Cork TD hopes to make progress in getting access to the market for Irish beef, as well as promote seafood and dairy products.

“China has a strong demand for imports of quality food, given the size of its population and concerns over food security and safety and Ireland is strategically placed to be a key supplier of quality meats, dairy products, beverages, seafood and other products and services to China/Hong Kong,” Coveney said.

In the first six months of the year, Ireland has exported €405 million in dairy, meats, beverages, seafood and hides and skins to China.

That marks a €105 million jump on last year’s figure, a leap that the Minister has described as “tremendous”.

Irish beef products have been banned in China since the BSE outbreak in 2000. Progress has been made with talks over the past two years, and further steps are expected this week.

“We have made good progress in that time and I will again be seeking substantive progress the issue in my meetings with Chinese political counterparts next week,” Coveney said in a statement.

“Securing access for Irish lamb will also take a major step forward next week when I will be formally submitting a completed technical dossier for consideration by the Chinese authorities which is the key first step in securing access. I will also be pursuing access for poultry products and asking the Chinese authorities to give consideration to progressing this dossier.”

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