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Coveney Hosts Major Ireland-China Seminar in Beijing

Event builds Ireland’s reputation as producer of quality

dairy products in world’s largest dairy market

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney T.D. today hosted a major Ireland-China dairy seminar in Beijing aimed at raising awareness of Ireland as a premium dairy producer for Chinese buyers and consumers. The event, hosted in association with Bord Bia, marks the centre-piece of day two of the agri-food trade mission and aims to increase Ireland’s exposure to the largest dairy market in the world in advance of dairy quotas being abolished here from next April.

Minister Coveney commented “today’s seminar was very much about building onour existing strong dairy trade with Chinaand exploringwhere future collaboration might occur from both a Chinese and Irish perspective. We know that world dairy consumption is projected to rise considerably over the next 10 years and that much of this will be driven by China. This rising demand coincides with our ambitious strategy, Food Harvest 2020, for growing our dairy sector once quotas are abolished in the EU which will happen at the end of next March. Our target to grow dairy output by 50% in just five years means that we can play a leading role in meeting China’s growing demand”.

The event also built on the successful audit of Irish dairy plants in April of this year where Ireland achieved 100% compliance with the Chinese requirements, and every company that applied for access was accepted. Irish dairy exports to China were worth over €270m in 2013 which was up some 100% in just two years and represent a growing slice of our dairy exports which last year reached €3.1bn. Market analysis predicts that medium term prospects for global dairy markets are good, with growth in world population and wealth expected to stimulate strong levels of demand for dairy products. 

Minister Coveney added Ireland stands on the cusp of the biggest positive development for Irish agriculture in over thirty years. With more than 85% of Irish dairy production being exported and one third of the value of these exports going outside the EU, it is imperative that the Irish dairy sector continues to source sustainable third country markets particularly now that our output will be expanding from next April. Today’s event was about demonstrating to key Chinese buyers and companies that Irish dairy sector is one which combines the best of cutting edge technology, consumer friendly products with verifiable sustainability and food safety claims”.

The event also saw the signing of a co-operation agreement between Bord Bia (Mr Aidan Cotter CEO) and the China Dairy Industry Association (Mme Jingjun Mu,Executive Director). Welcoming today's agreement Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive, commented "this marks another key progression for the Irish dairy industry and Bord Bia as we continue to build key trade relationships in China." The delegates also heard how Bord Bia, on behalf of the Irish food and drink industry, has conducted in excess of 300 hours of consumer research in the Chinese market. "Today's seminar has provided an invaluable opportunity to meet face to face with China's most influential dairy players. It also provided the ideal platform to share our recent research findings which will help guide the industry, and Bord Bia, with regard to the optimum messaging for sharing the story of Origin Green, Ireland's sustainability programme, with Chinese customers.” Mr. Cotter added.

Minister Coveney added that “supported by Government, the Irish dairy sector has succeeded in positioning itself as a major international player, and this week we are seeing industry announcements in relation to the development of supply arrangements between Irish companies and Chinese partners, and the development of value added products which can maximise the value of our dairy output. Today was about these companies showcasing their range of products and what they can offer the Chinese market”.

Concluding the Minister commented that “we know Ireland is the natural home of dairy production and that our claims around the quality and safety of our produce are undoubted. The relationship in the dairy sector between our two countries in this area is a perfect example of how a large country with an expansive market like China can build a relationship with a smaller country like Ireland on the basis of a mutual appreciation regarding issues such as safety and security of production as well as the sustainability of that production. My message to the Chinese companies and buyers today is to join with us as we expand this output even further”.

 

Note to Editors:

The agenda for the seminar included:

  • A keynote speech from Minister Coveney on the expansion plans for Ireland’s dairy sector
  • The signing of an MOU between Bord Bia and the China Dairy Industry Association.
  • Mr. Pan Gang, Chief executive of Yili Group, one of the largest Chinese dairy companies, to get the perspective of the Chinese dairy sector
  • A presentation by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on Ireland’s food safety controls in the dairy sector;
  • Presentations from representatives from the four infant formula producing plants in Ireland who export to China i.e. Wyeth, Abbott, Danone and Kerry
  • A panel discussion on what Ireland can offer China in dairy which included presentations on:
    • supports for inward investment from Enterprise Ireland
    • Ireland’s dairy research capability from Teagasc and Food for Health Ireland
    • A presentation by the Irish Dairy Industry Association (IDIA) on the range of products and ingredients exported by other Irish dairy companies to China and their plans for expansion. These companies were also in attendance and included Glanbia, Dairygold, Lakeland and North Cork co-op
  • A presentation from Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive of Bord Bia on the sustainability claims which are at the heart of Irish food production and what this means in terms of  a selling point for customers.

Added 04.11.14

 

View Press Release as a PDF:  DAFMPR 165/2014 (pdf 150Kb) 

 

Date Released: 04 November 2014