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She's not impressed (but she isn't mad, which is the important thing). badhands13 via Flickr/Creative Commons
sane cows

After 15 years, China has lifted its ban on Irish beef

But hold on, more inspections are still needed.

Updated 8.45pm

A BAN ON Irish beef in China, imposed more than 15 years ago, has been lifted.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny made the announcement at the Fine Gael conference in Mayo this evening.

It comes just more than a month after farmers here gained access to the lucrative United States market.

The lifting of the ban follows a visit by Chinese inspectors last year to confirm various quality standards were reached.

Minister for Agriculture, Food, and Marine Simon Coveney said Ireland passed inspections in December with ‘flying colours’.

Further visits will be required to determine exactly what products will be exported.

He explained this evening that several years of “intensive political, technical and diplomatic engagement with the Chinese authorities” led to this evening’s announcement.

“Increasing demand for beef in China will be driven by urbanisation, increasing affluence and especially by the westernisation of Chinese diet,” a statement from the Minister read.

“There is market potential not only for beef offals, but increasingly for high quality steak cuts and for traceable manufacturing beef for the expanding fast food sector. ”

This announcement will pave the way for Irish operators to get a share of that market.

BordBia said:

A delegation representing China’s top beef buying companies will visit Ireland in the coming weeks and visit beef and sheep meat export plants to see for themselves the high standards of production, processing and regulatory control that exists in Ireland.

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 said last year that Irish beef exports to the United States could be worth €100 million this year.

Why is China important for Irish beef exports?

  • 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.
  • Sixth largest exporter overall
  • Second most important for diary and pig meat, according to BordBia, with a growing market for seafood
  • Value of Irish food and drink exports increase tenfold over the past decade

Read: Ireland becomes first EU country allowed to sell beef to the US since BSE ban >

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