Sixmilebridge Farm Visit critical role in the re-opening of the Chinese Beef Market – BREEN

March 6th, 2015 - Pat Breen

Clare T.D and Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade Pat Breen welcoming the reopening of the Chinese Beef Market said that the “visit to James Lynch’s farm by the now President XI Jinping in 2012, which left the President with a lasting impression of Ireland’s Agricultural Sector played a critical role in strengthening the hand of the Government as we undertook a period of intense lobbying to enhance our trade links between Ireland and China which has culminated in this decision to reopen the Chinese Beef Market to Irish Beef.”

“Just 12 months after his visit to Sixmilebridge, I had the opportunity as Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade to meet with President XI as part of a high level Trade delegation to China. This visit had made a lasting impression on him and contributed to an enhanced reputation for our Agricultural Sector right across China.

In a further follow up trade visit to China in August 2014, I was tasked by the Government to lobby the Chinese Authorities to send a technical inspection team to Ireland to inspect our Beef Industry and Regulation System and at that point, the Chinese indicated a real interest in lifting the Irish Beef Ban. And the case for Irish Beef was further strengthened by President Michael D Higgins high profile State visit to China last December when he was accompanied by our Finance Minister Michael Noonan.

I am delighted that the Chinese Government Inspectors examined our industry in depth and that the Irish Beef Sector ticked all the rights boxes. The lifting of the Chinese ban after a 17 year gap is hugely significant for our Industry and comes hot on the heels of the reopening of the US Market to our Beef. The Chinese Beef market is valued at around €50 billion, China was our second biggest market for dairy last year with our Food and Drink exports worth over €500 million, it is our sixth largest exporter overall and our second most important for dairy and pig meat.

We are now the only EU Country which has made the breakthrough into both the US and Chinese Markets and the reopening of these markets provides a major boost for our Agricultural Industry.
The next step is that a delegation representing China’s top beef companies are set to visit Ireland in the coming weeks when they will visit beef and sheep meat export plans with a Chinese Veterinary inspection required to approve individual processing plants for export.”