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Minister Smith in China for Irish Food Exhibition at SIAL China and Meeting with Chinese Agriculture Minister

Ireland in position to meet growing demand in China for high quality foodstuffs.

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD is travelling to Shanghai to support Irish companies exhibiting at SIAL China, the leading food & beverage exhibition in China, attracting over 25,000 business representatives from 84 countries, including some 13 per cent from the Asia-Pacific region, and will also travel to Beijing to meet the Chinese Minister for Agriculture.

The Minister said he was delighted to see companies building business in this very important and growing marketplace. "China is a growth market for food and beverages which Ireland, with its particular strengths in dairy, meat and beverage sectors and strong record of international exports, can supply.   There are also niche opportunities for premium products and some seafoods. It is encouraging that the value of Irish food & beverage exports to China rose by 44% to €118m in 2009, mainly in exports of infant formula and dairy ingredients".

Paying tribute to Bord Bia in supporting Irish exporters, Minister Smith emphasised the importance of participation at SIAL China to promote growing awareness of the Irish food and beverage sector among Chinese buyers and consumers.  Three Irish companies - Baileys, Kepak Group and Rosderra Meats - are exhibiting on the Bord Bia stand and many more Irish companies, including Kerry Ingredients, Glanbia Nutritionals, Irish Dairy Board, Baileys, Jameson, Murphys, Sofrimar, C&C Group, Porterhouse, Abbeyfield Foods are involved in the Bord Bia SIAL China programme.  10 companies are also participating in a Bord Bia Market Study Visit.

Minister Smith added that "the Irish food and beverage sector is very much open for business and in a position to meet China's demand for very high standards in food imports for its people. We have invested hugely over many years in food safety and quality production of food and drink. Together with the commitment and ambition of the food and beverage industry in trading on over 100 markets worldwide, this positions Ireland to develop the opportunities emerging on the Chinese market ".  While at SIAL, Minister Smith will host a reception at Porterhouse in the World Expo site for over 70 key customers of Irish food in China.

Later in the week, Minister Smith will travel to Beijing to meet the Minister for Agriculture of the People's Republic of China, Mr. Han Changfu as well as the Minister for Quality Supervision Mr. Wang Yong to further develop the relationship and mutual understanding between the two countries. He will also meet Trade Associations and attend the official opening of the Irish Dairy Board office in Beijing.


Note for Editors

1.  China Market Overview

  • China has a population of over 1.3bn.  In 2009 GDP growth was 8.7 per cent and was valued at US$3,742 per capita.  China¿s agriculture imports reached US$52.55bn in 2009, while exports were valued at US$39.59bn.
  • Urbanisation is a key growth driver in China and by 2010 China¿s urban population will have grown to between 650-700m people. The average annual disposable income in urban areas is US$2,514, more than three times that of rural areas.  Food accounts for as much as 32 per cent of household expenses in urban areas.

Date Released: 17 May 2010