Irish beef is being allowed back into China.
Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed says after years of hard work, the Chinese authorities this morning confirmed access for Irish Beef exports.
They banned beef from the EU and US during the BSE crisis in 2000. That ban was officially lifted three years ago but trade still has not resumed.
China is Ireland's third largest market, last year Ireland's agri-food exports there were worth nearly a billion euro.
So far three factories have been fully approved and can begin exporting.
These include the ABP plant in Clones in Co Monaghan, Donegal Meat Processors and Slaney Foods in Co Wexford.
Bord Bia has welcomed the announcement saying Ireland is the first European beef exporter to secure access to China.
According to Bord Bia, China officially imported more than 700,000 tonnes of beef in 2017 – a figure expected to double by 2020.
In China, annual per capita beef consumption is low at 4-6kg, compared to 19kg in Ireland.
They said an average annual increase of just 1kg per capita equates to an additional 1.38 million tonnes of beef per annum, and by 2020, it is estimated Chinese consumers will eat close to 9 million tonnes of beef.
Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy, said: “Bord Bia, and in particular, our Shanghai office, has been actively planning and preparing for today’s breakthrough, and we are now well-positioned and ready to maximize this significant opportunity for Irish beef exporters.
"Today’s timely announcement follows just days after we hosted the China Meat Association and 17 senior representatives from leading Chinese meat importers as part of our Marketplace International event. All of the visiting Chinese delegates had the opportunity to visit Irish beef farms and processers, giving them a first-hand experience and insight into Irish food production.”
“Ireland’s agri-food industry already enjoys a strong trade relationship with China. Exports were valued at almost €1 billion last year, while China is our second largest export market for dairy and pork, behind the UK."