Brazil is set to begin shipments of beef to China from early June, with Irish beef exports likely to follow in the coming months.
Brazilian beef plants approved for export to China include five from JBS, two from Marfrig and one from Minerva. Shares in each of these companies rose by 1%-2% on foot of this news.
Fernando Sampaio, director of Brazilian beef exporters’ association Abiec, said exports should start in June. Last week, Chinese premier Li Keqiang signed trade, finance, and investment deals worth tens of billions of dollars in Brazil.
His deal with Brazil followed his recent visit to a number of Irish farms and formal talks with Irish agri-food industry leaders. China lifted its ban on Irish beef in February, having reopened to Brazil four months earlier.
Ireland is the world’s fifth-largest beef exporter, after Australia, Brazil, Netherlands, and the USA. Annual exports of 500,000 tonnes of beef are worth €2.2bn to the Irish economy.
Ireland exported €620m in agri-food goods to China in 2014, 2.5 times the €254m level of exports in 2011. In the 1980s, beef consumption registered 0.32kg per capita in China. This rose to 5kg by 2009, and is set to exceed 6kg per capita by 2025.
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