NI beef industry gains access to £230 million Chinese market

Date published: 21 October 2019

The Northern Ireland beef industry has received final approval to begin exporting to China, a market which is worth £230 million in the first five years, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced.

DAERA officials are pictured with Chinese delegation during an inward mission from the 7 to 10 June to inspect a number of local food establishments in NI prior to the announcement in which China has agreed market access for UK beef.

Welcoming approval from the Chinese authorities, Chief Veterinary Officer for NI, Dr Robert Huey said: “Receiving final approval for exports to China is excellent news for our local beef sector, a market which is worth an estimated £230 million to the UK in the first five years.  It is a further boost for our local meat exporters, coming on the back of the announcement earlier this year when Japan agreed to accept beef imports.” 

Mr Huey continued: “By recommending approval for Northern Ireland, the Chinese authorities have recognised the rigorous standards we have in place to produce our high-quality, safe and wholesome beef.  We place a clear emphasis on traceability at the heart of our production and processing and recognise that a joined up, safe and efficient food supply is essential.

“This welcome news follows concerted efforts by DAERA, working closely with DEFRA in London and the NI Bureau in Beijing, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Food Standards Agency NI, UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP), and the industry here in Northern Ireland to achieve this outcome.”

Ian Stevenson, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Livestock & Meat Commission, welcomed this very positive development for the Northern Ireland beef industry.

He said: “I am delighted that the professional and intensive engagement that has taken place between the UK and China over the last few years has now resulted in the approval for export of UK beef to China in the coming months. The beef industry has openly welcomed the analysis and inspection of our beef controls across all regions of the United Kingdom and we are looking forward to supplying new customers in China with our high quality and versatile beef.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The announcement follows a successful inspection hosted by Defra, DAERA, Food Standards Agency, the Animal and Plant Health Agency and the UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP), in conjunction with beef farmers and food business operators during June 2019.
  2. DAERA officials hosted the inward mission from the 7th to 10th June 2019 during which the Chinese delegation inspected a number of local food establishments.
  3. On 17 June 2019 China’s decision to grant market access for UK beef exporters was announced more than 20 years after the Chinese Government imposed a ban on UK imports of beef in 1996.
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  5. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or via email. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.

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