China now Ireland’s third largest market for agri-food exports
Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, recently gave the Irish parliament his views on the progress made by the Irish agrifood sector in developing a market for Irish beef in China. Speaking on 6 December, he commented, “Total Irish agri-food trade exports to China were €974 million in 2017. China is […]
Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, recently gave the Irish parliament his views on the progress made by the Irish agrifood sector in developing a market for Irish beef in China. Speaking on 6 December, he commented, “Total Irish agri-food trade exports to China were €974 million in 2017. China is now our third largest market overall for agri-food exports. Dairy exports reached €667 million and pigmeat exports were over €100 million in 2017. These were the two largest categories of food exported to China, and for both of these commodities China was Ireland’s second largest destination market according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) trade data. China is also a growing market for seafood and other food and drink exports.”
Last month saw Ireland’s Minister of State Andrew Doyle undertake a series of political and promotional engagements at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai and at the Seafood Expo in Qingdao. This followed the Irish trade mission that Michael Creed led to China in May, and an inward visit by the Chinese Minister for Agriculture in October.
Michael Creed continued, “By gaining access to China, we have opened a very significant beef market for Irish beef companies. It is up to the beef companies to avail of this opportunity. According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) by the end of August 2018, Irish beef exports to China were 260 tonnes or €432,000. I am reasonably pleased with this level of exports given that the trade only commenced during the summer. It indicates that Irish beef companies are beginning to gain a foothold in the Chinese market.
“On average, Chinese beef consumption is now 4kg per person per year. While that may be considered low when compared to average Irish consumption of 19kg of beef per capita per year, it underlines the potential for further growth in consumer demand for beef, driven by increasing urbanisation and higher disposable incomes. Total beef imports to China were around 600,000 tonnes in 2016. That is more than Ireland’s total beef exports to all markets last year. I firmly believe that our beef industry can and will compete effectively in the Chinese market and I look forward to the opportunities that this access will bring.”