Irish agri-food exports to China have grown over 270% to €620m in the past five years, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney told those gathered at a major China-Ireland Food Safety Forum in Kildare.
Bi Jingquan, China’s minister with responsibility for the China Food and Drug Administration, was joint host of the dairy and infant formula-focused forum at the Department of Agriculture’s complex in Backweston, Co Kildare.
Mr Coveney said: “Our agri-food exports to China have grown over 270% to €620m in just five years and this year alone dairy exports from Ireland to China are up 25% on last year.
“This is testament to the strong resonance which the reliability and quality of our products have with Chinese consumers as we know that they are expecting the best.
“Ireland’s reputation depends on meeting the highest expectations of consumers, and we are committed to strong, effective regulation. Added to this is our growing reputation for sustainable dairy production.”
Mr Coveney and Mr Bi signed a memorandum of understanding setting out co-operation between both countries in the area of food safety.
Mr Bi is on a three-day visit, with senior Chinese industry representatives. The group has visited a dairy farm in Co Wicklow, Danone’s infant formula plant in Co Wexford, and Kerry Group’s Technology and Innovation Centre in Naas, Co Kildare.
Today, Mr Bi will meet Health Minister Leo Varadkar to discuss regulatory systems in the medical devices and pharmaceutical sectors and visit specialist companies.
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