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Creed concludes second 2019 Trade Visit to China Building on Beef Market Access Breakthrough & EU-CHINA Protected Geographic Indicators Agreement.

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BORD BIA Sign Promotional Agreement with Worlds 3RD Largest Online Platform

The Government of Ireland’s (Department of Agriculture Food & Marine, Irish Embassy Beijing & Bord Bia) efforts to expand the global reach of Irish food and drink exports in China has seen a significant boost in recent weeks with the approval of 14 additional beef plants to supply product to the Chinese market, bringing to 21 the total number of Irish plants listed with the General Administration of Customs in China.  The announcement marks a step change in Ireland’s capacity to supply the Chinese market.  On foot of this breakthrough the Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine, Michael Creed T.D. led a trade visit to China this week which included Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy and officials from DAFM.  The delegation visited Shanghai and Beijing for a series of high level engagements with Government and trade representatives, culminating today in the announcement of a retail promotion for Irish beef with Chinese online retailer, JD.com, China’s second largest online platform with over 320m annual customers and the world’s third largest Internet company by revenue.

Commenting on the Trade visit, Minister Creed said; “The latest round of plant approvals is the strongest endorsement possible of Irish food safety standards; we were the first country in Western Europe to achieve access to the Chinese market and now it is clear that our plants are meeting the high and exacting standards of the Chinese authorities.  The purpose of the trip is to demonstrate Ireland’s intent and commitment to delivering on the demand.  We are confident that beef exports, which were worth €9m in 2018, and €21 million for the first eight months of this year over will follow the same positive trajectory as exports of Irish dairy, pigmeat and seafood to China.  This follows a week where the Irish alcohol sector saw a significant boost with the conclusion of the EU-China Protected Geographical indicators agreement for Irish Cream and Irish Whiskey, in China – critical to supporting the future export growth of these quality Irish products”.

Tara McCarthy, CEO, Bord Bia, commented; “Bord Bia’s research, running in tandem with the market access strategy led by the Minister and his Department, means that Bord Bia and its industry partners are ready for swift in-market execution on foot of this increased access.  In preparation for this development, our market studies focused in on what is important to the Chinese consumer which helped to shape our positioning, understand our route to market and build on our proof points to deliver commercially.  We know that food safety and provenance are key consumption drivers in China, and Bord Bia’s Quality & Sustainability Assurance Schemes provide the government approved standards required in this market to promote trust. This, combined with our branded promotional activities will now focus on building recognition of Quality Assured Irish Beef.  These approvals allow us to accelerate our business development efforts and forge further relationships with Chinese customers in the foodservice, retail and e-Commerce channels across prioritized regions. Our research tells us that as trust grows over time, so too do the opportunities to supply new cuts and new products.  In this market where the demand continues to grow – we are confident that China will become a major destination for Irish beef into the future, generating potential volumes of 25-30,000 tonnes”.

The Irish delegation’s itinerary across the two-day visit to China included attendance at the FHC food service trade show in Shanghai and high level trade engagements with the objectives of further deepening understanding of the Chinese trade customer, and business development engagements with some of China’s leading beef and lamb processors, importers, retailers and online trading platforms; Grand Farm, Metro China, Hopewise and JD.com.

Minister Creed also held a bi-lateral meeting with Vice Minister Hu of the General Administration of Customs China (GACC) where market access issues, and in particular Ireland’s application for sheep meat access were discussed.

Bord Bia announced that there will be a series of future marketing initiatives aiming to raise awareness of Irish beef among chefs and consumers, in an effort to widen and deepen the market penetration of Irish beef and other food products. Mr Wang Zhiqiang, General Manager of Meat and Frozen Food from JD.com, signed an MOU at the Embassy of Ireland, Beijing with Bord Bia for the ‘Double 12’ promotion.

Mr Wang said, “We are delighted that Ireland has chosen us to launch their first country level promotion of Irish food. JD’s Double 12 promotion campaign provides an excellent opportunity to fully support Irish beef and other food products, further expanding the range of quality food available to Chinese consumers.”

Launching the JD.com partnership, Tara Mc Carthy, CEO of Bord Bia, said;  “The cooperation with JD.com represents the beginning of a new and exciting phase in our trading relationship with China, as we see Irish beef placed front and centre with the Chinese consumer,” she said. “Bord Bia will launch a series of B2B and B2C marketing activities in the coming months and into 2020 focusing on meat, dairy and seafood that will further build ‘food brand Ireland’ recognition in the Chinese market”.

China export background

Irish food exports to China in 2018 were valued at €782m (CNY6.02bn) and grew 6% in volume terms from the previous year. China is now Ireland’s fifth largest market for food exports, behind the UK, US, Netherlands and France and accounts for more than 6% of global Irish food exports.  Irish Food & Drink exports to Greater China recorded strong growth in the first eight months of 2019 increasing by 17% to reach €595m – a record return in the history of trade with China. The key target categories of dairy, meat and seafood all showed favourable growth. China’s unique preferences and wide range of tastes make this a very important market for Irish producers and processors in these categories. China is Ireland’s second largest market for pork and dairy, behind the UK. Seafood exports to China, primarily shellfish, have also grown strongly in recent years.

Bord Bia forecast that there is potential for the Chinese market to import 25,000 to 30,000 tonnes of Irish beef with a value of up to €120 million to the Irish beef sector. China represents a valuable long term market due to the ongoing rise in beef demand which has seen imports double over the last two years with longer term forecasts suggesting import demand will be around 2.2 million tonnes by 2025, compared to 700,000 tonnes in 2017.  Subject to this demand remaining at anticipated levels, and continued positive access terms, China could become the 5th-6th largest market for Irish beef and on a par from a volume perspective, with markets such as Germany.


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