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Creed Jointly Hosts Major Irish Food Seminar with Chinese Minister in Beijing

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed T.D. met today with Ms Mingzhu Wang, Vice- Minister for the Chinese Food and Drug Administration (CFDA). CFDA is the key player in the implementation of Chinese Food Safety Law, with which Irish food business operators must comply if they wish to do business there. The Ministers agreed that they would continue to co-operate closely, including through the implementation of an internship programme which will see Chinese officials come to Ireland to spend time in the Department and its agencies in order to familiarise themselves with Irish  Food Safety systems.

Following their meeting, the two Ministers made keynote addresses at a major Food Ireland seminar in Beijing, aimed at raising awareness of Ireland as a producer of high quality, safe and environmentally sustainable food products, and providing a vital networking opportunity for more than 160 participants, including Irish food business operators and Chinese buyers. The event was a centre-piece of the Beijing leg of the Asian agri-food trade mission and was hosted in association with Bord Bia.

Minister Creed commented “today’s seminar was very much about building upon our existing strong agri food trade with China and exploring where future collaboration might occur from both a Chinese and Irish perspective. We know that world dairy and meat consumption is projected to rise considerably over the next 10 years and that much of this will be driven by Asian markets. This rising demand coincides with our ambitious strategy, Food Wise 2025 Our target is to increases the value of agri-food exports by 85% to €19 billion by 2025.  This means that we can play a leading role in meeting China’s growing demand”.

The event also built upon previous engagement and sought to highlight recent developments such as the growing value and volume of Irish agri-food exports to China. Dairy exports rose by approximately 380% from €103 million in 2012 to €395 million in 2015. Around 50,000 tonnes of dairy produce were exported from Ireland to China in 2015 and exports of pigmeat and fish have both doubled in value terms between 2012 and 2015. Minister Creed added “However, I would also emphasise that the Ireland-China partnership is not just about trade but is one of building relationships and sharing of mutual expertise and knowledge.”

The seminar also provided an opportunity to highlight Ireland’s strong food safety systems and regulatory controls. Minister Creed noted that Ireland was “a country which exports 90% of its beef and 85% of its dairy produce. Our food safety and control standards are robust and verifiable and important partner countries such as China can have full faith in our systems. Today’s event was about demonstrating to key Chinese buyers and companies, and to Chinese regulatory authorities, that Irish food sector is one which combines the best of cutting edge technology, consumer friendly products with verifiable sustainability and food safety ”.

The event provided an important opportunity to highlight investment opportunities in Ireland.

Mr. Aidan Cotter, CEO of Bord Bia, commented "this seminar marks another key progression for the Irish food industry and Bord Bia as we continue to build key trade relationships in China."

Concluding his address to the seminar the Minister commented that “we know Ireland is the natural home of food production and that our claims around the quality and safety of our produce are undoubted. My message to you today is to join with us as we expand this output even further. When you do you will find a country with the highest quality output which your customers can be assured that they are buying the best. Today’s seminar represents the deepening of the Ireland-China partnership on dairy and marks a new step in this relationship which I believe will continue to flourish for many years.”

The Minister also held a successful meeting with the China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO). The COFCO Group is China's largest food processing, manufacturing and trading company, with revenues of more than €40 billion, and already purchases a significant volume of Irish food. Minister Creed ha an extremely positive engagement with the Chairman of this massive food group, which will be sending a delegation to Ireland in the near future to explore the potential for further business development. 

The South Korean leg of the trade mission saw  Minister Andrew Doyle engaged in a   series of political and commercial meetings in Seoul. "Minister Doyle continued with day 2 of the Korean leg of the trade mission with events in Seoul meeting buyers of Irish food and drink. The main meeting was with the CEO of the Hyundai stores which lists Irish salmon, Jameson and Flahavans oatmeal amongst others as its products on display. The Hyundai stores are high-end food stores in Korea and the Minister also met some online food retailers which is a fast-growing segment of the market here.

Commenting on the meetings the Minister said "I was delighted today to meet buyers of Irish food and to see how these products resonate with customers here. It is clear that there is significant scope to grow these exports particularly in the seafood, pork and dairy sectors and this will be assisted by efforts here to raise the profile of Ireland as a producer of safe sustainable food".

Later in the evening the minister hosted a reception for key Korean buyers of both Irish food as well as Irish Agri-tech products. The event was well attended by invited Korean media who expressed great interest in further spreading the word about Irish food.

Minister Creed heads to Shanghai tonight for a series of business meetings tomorrow.

Note to Editors:

The agenda for the seminar included:

  • A keynote speech from Minister Creed on co-operation and developments in agri food trade  between Ireland and China
  • A keynote address from CFDA Vice Minister, Ms. Mingzhu Wang
  • A presentation by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on Ireland’s food safety controls in the agri food sector
  • A presentation by Mr. Frank Qu, President, Greater China, Wyeth Nutrition on Building Successful Strategic Partnerships in Dairy
  • A presentation from Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive of Bord Bia on Origin Green and sustainability
  • A panel discussion on what Ireland can offer China in agri tech and food which included detailed inputs from:
    • Enterprise Ireland               
    • Sustainable Food Systems Ireland
    • Meat Industry Ireland  
    • Irish Dairy Industry Association

To view this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR 105/2016 (pdf 482Kb) 

Added 08.09.16

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed T.D. met today with Ms Mingzhu Wang, Vice- Minister for the Chinese Food and Drug Administration (CFDA). CFDA is the key player in the implementation of Chinese Food Safety Law.

Added 08.09.16

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle, T.D. visiting Hyundai Department Store, Seoul, during Trade Mission to Korea.

Date Released: 08 September 2016