Trade Resources Policy & Opinion China Lifts 18-Year Ban on Irish Beef Exports

China Lifts 18-Year Ban on Irish Beef Exports

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China has opened its markets to Irish beef exports, ending an 18-year ban that was imposed on Ireland following the outbreak of mad cow disease.

The Asian country had banned beef imports from Ireland and other European Union countries and also the US in 2000 due to mad cow disease or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), a brain disorder caused by consumption of diseased meat.   

Ireland is now the first country in the European Union to be allowed to export its beef products to China with Beijing approving imports from three Irish beef processors, reported Reuters.

Ireland Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed expects a number of Irish beef firms to be listed by the Chinese authorities in the coming days for exporting their products.

Creed said: “The opening of this key market presents an excellent opportunity for the Irish beef sector, from farmers through to processors, in line with the market development theme of our Food Wise strategy. 

“Opening and developing new markets is also a key part of our response to the uncertainties arising from Brexit.”

According to Creed, the ban on Irish beef exports was lifted by China owing to a sustained effort from the Irish officials for several years.

Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) will work out on the final technicalities to enable trade to begin in the coming weeks.

According to DAFM, Ireland had earned €974m in 2017 through its agri-food trade exports to China. While dairy exports accounted to €667m, pork exports were more than €100m in 2017, revealed the department which added that China is now the third largest market for agricultural exports from Ireland.

 DAFM said that although China has increased its domestic beef production, the demand for premium imported beef in the country is expected to grow significantly due to increased urbanization among other factors.

The Irish department said that China’s beef imports have increased nearly six times between 2010 and 2016 to 600,000 tonnes with frozen boneless beef making up about 80%.

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