Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, is leading the first full ministerial trade mission to China since the pandemic hit. The trade mission is being carried out in collaboration with Bord Bia and will include events in Beijing and Shanghai, as well as government-to-government meetings, Bord Bia engagements with leading customers for Irish food, and participation in SIAL Shanghai, the world’s largest food and beverage trade show. The Minister will also launch Bord Bia-led EU dairy and meat promotion seminars during the trade mission, as well as promotional events for Irish whiskey and seafood, along with Enterprise Ireland events. Agriland will be in attendance for the Shanghai-leg of the trade mission, bringing up-to-date information from the events as they unfold.
Speaking ahead of the trade mission, Minister Charlie McConalogue highlighted the importance of promoting Ireland’s safe, high-quality, sustainably-produced meat, dairy, seafood, and beverages in a market that has huge potential. He noted that the government’s Food Vision 2030 strategy envisages growing the value, rather than the volume, of Irish agri-food exports in the decade ahead, and delivering that value back to farmers and fishers.
“This trade mission is an exciting opportunity to further raise the profile of our unique food and drink offering among discerning Chinese consumers,” said McConalogue. “The potential for growing the value of our trade with the Chinese market, in particular for beef exports, is critically important to the development ambitions of the sector which ultimately supports the sustainability of our family-farm model.”
Bord Bia has developed a combination of insight-led itineraries and strategic buyer engagement opportunities to support Irish food and drink companies in their efforts to deepen existing key trade relationships and to create new business opportunities. Ireland has built a solid trading relationship with China, accounting for 4% of all exports and is now our sixth-largest trade destination for food and drink by value.
“A growing middle class with high disposable incomes in Chinese cities is creating an aspirational consumer base with an increasing interest in premium food products and access to sophisticated digital retail platforms. Irish exporters are ideally placed to service these consumer demands,” said Jim O’Toole, Bord Bia chief executive.
The trade mission will be “a real Team Ireland undertaking”, with strong support from the Embassy of Ireland in China, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Bord Bia, and Enterprise Ireland, according to Minister McConalogue. “I also very much look forward to engaging with Irish food companies and their key Chinese trade customers,” he said.
The Minister is particularly looking forward to supporting the re-entry of Irish beef into the Chinese market following the lifting of restrictions earlier this year. His clear focus on this trade mission is to support the sector’s efforts to grow their presence in China, especially for added-value products.
The potential for Irish exporters in China is huge, with a growing middle class and high disposable incomes creating an aspirational consumer base with an increasing interest in premium food products. The trade mission will provide an opportunity for Irish food and drink companies to deepen existing key trade relationships and create new business opportunities.
Overall, the trade mission is an exciting opportunity for Ireland to promote its unique food and drink offering among discerning Chinese consumers, and to grow the value of its trade with the Chinese market. The collaboration between the Embassy of Ireland in China, DAFM, Bord Bia, and Enterprise Ireland will ensure that the trade mission is a real Team Ireland undertaking, with strong support for Irish food companies and their key Chinese trade customers.