The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed T.D. today concluded the first leg of his trade mission to China, leading the participation of Irish food companies in SIAL China, Asia’s largest food innovation exhibition in Shanghai.
Minister Creed commented “SIAL provides a unique opportunity for Irish industry to meet and engage with key buyers, distributors and manufacturers from China’s food sector. The Origin Green Ireland stand will showcase the commitment of the Irish food industry to food safety, sustainability and authenticity to attendees at the exhibition, which will attract over 100,000 trade specialists.”
The Ireland-China partnership for the agri-food sector continues to develop, reflecting the strong strategic partnerships being built between Chinese and Irish companies.
On Monday, Minister Creed, together with the Irish Ambassador to China, Department officials and Bord Bia, hosted a number of networking events and a ‘China Focus’ seminar for Irish companies and their key customers, importers and distributors.
Minister Creed commented “China is a hugely valuable market, already in our top three export destinations for Irish pork and dairy, and with a strong reputation in terms of our seafood offering.”
In relation to Irish beef, Minister Creed commented “I was delighted to see at first hand the real enthusiasm of Chinese trade buyers and consumers for Irish beef, and the innovative ways in which this quality product can be adapted to suit Chinese cuisines and consumer tastes.”
Up to end February, CSO trade statistics show that 2,000 tonnes of Irish beef, valued at €4.7 million, have been exported since trade commenced last summer. There is real evidence that Irish companies are beginning to gain a foothold in the Chinese market, from which they can grow and develop further.”
“The Chinese market also represents a significant opportunity for the Irish sheep sector, and progressing discussions on the process for sheepmeat access is one of my Department’s key priorities in terms of our market access work for 2019”.
Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy said, “A priority of Bord Bia’s Meat Strategy is to find new markets that can deliver the best returns for the Irish farmer and food producers. Many of these new markets are outside the EU where customers may have difficulty to find Ireland on the map, never mind to understand our sophisticated food safety and sustainable production systems. We fought hard therefore to win the contract to manage the EU campaign to promote beef and lamb in China under the banner “European Beef and Lamb: Excellence in Food Safety and Sustainability”. Winning the contract puts Ireland centre stage as the standard bearer of the best in EU meat production and it gives one of the smallest countries in Europe an opportunity to build a profile with the EU`s biggest trading partner.”
Minister Creed concluded that “attendance at today’s SIAL will assist Irish meat and dairy companies increasing their footprint in this vast market.”