A working group on market access for Irish beef in China is the first such group set up by an EU member state, and Ireland is one of only three countries worldwide to have such a working group, said Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, in a recent review of what he described as the “very significant” achievements of the trade delegation he led to China in April.
The working group is agreed in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between his department and the Chinese Inspection and Quarantine Service on sanitary and phyto-sanitary issues.
An MOU was also signed on mutual cooperation in agri-food and fisheries, building on the expressed wish of Chinese Vice President Xi that Ireland and China develop deeper co-operation in agriculture.
An MOU was also signed on export of horse feed to China. An Irish feed company, Connollys, is the first foreign company to be approved to export horse feed to China.
The trade delegation also renewed a bovine semen protocol.
Another MOU was also signed by the Marine Institute and the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences.
The “very significant” commercial outcomes achieved included
* A $50m project involving an Irish company (Coolmore) in a joint venture to partner China in establishing their national equine facility.
* Agreements between BIM and eight Irish Seafood companies to supply China with commercial samples of boar fish.
* Agreement between SAMCO and Pioneer, involving Enterprise Ireland, on the supply of machinery for maize growing.
* The Ireland-China Food Hub for Irish food and drink exporters, a shared office facility which will be managed by Bord Bia and which will target the Chinese market and provide practical solutions and support for Irish companies already in the Chinese market, and those seeking to enter the market.
* Agreement between UCD and United Dairies which envisages development of a demonstration farm in China using equipment manufactured in Ireland and operated by Chinese staff, trained in Ireland.
Mr Coveney said it was the largest ever Irish trade delegation to China, brought together by his department, Bord Bia and Enterprise Ireland, with 51 Irish companies and 127 individuals involved, in addition to Teagasc, BIM, the Marine Institute, the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency, Irish Thoroughbred Marketing and universities.
He said trade mission was an excellent example of practical collaborative action between government, industry, universities and research institutes that has helped to increase the profile of Ireland as a major producer of high quality food and a centre of excellence in terms of food safety, sustainable production systems, animal breeding and genetics.
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