Friday, September 24, 2021

Ministers McConalogue and Heydon signing the meat export protocol with China this week.

LOCAL TD, and the Minister with responsibility for new markets Martin Heydon has welcomed significant progress in gaining access to the Chinese market for Irish mutton and pork.

Heydon’s boss, and Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and Minister Ni of China have signed and exchanged formal protocols that will pave the way for the export of sheepmeat and breeding pigs from Ireland to China.

“My Department in collaboration with the Embassy in Beijing, has pursued market access for sheep meat with Chinese authorities over a number of years,” said the Kildare South TD and farmer.

The agreement reached today follows on from a successful inspection of Irish plants by Chinese customs auditors in August and September in 2019,” he revealed.

“I know that Bord Bia has already conducted market insight research on the Chinese sheep meat market, and is working with the industry on market preparations.”

China accounts for more than one-third (38%) of the global sheepmeat imports, and in 2020 China’s sheepmeat imports amounted to 365,000 tonnes, valued at €1.47bn.

Import prices reached a record high in the first half of 2021, averaging €4.66/kg.

The protocol represents an important milestone in gaining access to the Chinese market, as China is a substantial importer of sheepmeat, with a positive outlook for demand in the long term.

There are a number of technical steps that remain before the Choinese Customs officials can include the list of approved plants on their websites, so Irish authorities will have to put in place systems and safeguards to ensure compliance with protocol requirements, and this is expected to take a number of months.

A protocol on live pigs has also been signed which sets out the quarantine and hygiene requirements for the export of high-quality breeding pigs to China.

“This agreement is a recognition of Ireland’s strong history of breeding and selling a superior health status of pigs to many overseas markets. The export of breeding pigs is a niche market opportunity, and this reflects well on the breeding population developed by specialist Irish producers.”



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