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Hayes Talks Beef with Top Chinese Politician, Mr. Liu Yunshan on Farm Visit in Co Wicklow

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, Tom Hayes T.D. today met with senior Chinese politician Mr Liu Yunshan at the farm of Tom and Geraldine Short in Newtownmountkennedy Co. Wicklow.

Minister Hayes said “I was delighted that Mr. Liu had the opportunity to see at first hand the top quality food produced in Ireland, particularly given that China is such an important export destination for Irish food. It was wonderful to be able to showcase the grass fed production systems that differentiate Irish beef and lamb, and Short’s farm represents the best of what Irish agricultural production has to offer. The Ireland-China agri-food partnership continues to grow every year and visits such as these are important milestones in enhancing the relationship.

The Short’s farm is a member of the Bord Bia Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme and is also participating in the Origin Green sustainability programme which monitors the Carbon Footprint of his beef production and Minister Hayes took the opportunity to underscore the importance of sustainability as a key theme of food production in Ireland. The visit to the farm was important as it specialises in beef production which is the subject of ongoing discussion between China and Ireland regarding securing market access there.

Mr. Hayes added “last year we exported €290m worth of food and agricultural products to China, which represents remarkable growth in recent years. Unfortunately Irish beef and lamb were not part of this growth dynamic as, just like other EU countries; we currently do not have access for these products at present. This is a matter on which much work is ongoing and I am pleased that the Taoiseach and Tánaiste are also raising it with Mr. Liu as a priority issue for Ireland during this visit. Last December a high level delegation from my Department visited Beijing for talks with the Chinese authorities on securing beef access building on Minister Coveney’s previous visit there and we are hopeful of progress on this in the near future”.

The Minister also announced that the Chinese authorities this week have given the green light to initiate discussions on securing access for Irish sheepmeat. Minister Hayes added “I am very pleased with this development and my Department is now working to complete the questionnaire for submission to the Chinese Inspection and Quarantine Service (AQSIQ,).  The steps towards securing final access will require a considerable amount of work but it’s a big prize to work towards and will be one of the priorities for the Department when it comes to market access issues

Concluding, Minister Hayes said “Irish exporters of dairy and pork products have already built valuable markets in China which continue to grow every year. The quality of our dairy output was confirmed recently in the results of a very successful audit from the Chinese authorities when 100% of the companies which applied for access were approved for export. I am hopeful that this visit will be another step in broadening this partnership with China and securing further access for high quality Irish food in the coming years”.

Added 17.06.14

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, Tom Hayes T.D. today met with senior Chinese politician Mr Liu Yunshan at the farm of Tom and Geraldine Short in Newtownmountkennedy Co. Wicklow.

Added 17.06.14

Tom Shorts Family Farm in Newtownmountkenndy where senior Chinese politician Mr Liu Yunshan and his delegation visited this afternoon.  Pictured are the Tom and Geraldine Short with Mr Liu Yunshan.

View Press Release as a PDF:  DAFMPR 82/2014 (pdf 548Kb) 

Date Released: 17 June 2014