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Irish beef exports to China to resume, Taoiseach says

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has confirmed that China has agreed to resume imports of Irish beef.

It has accepted Irish science that the BSE case found was atypical.

China had suspended imports last November following the discovery of atypical Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, also known as Mad Cow Disease, in a cow in the west of Ireland.

It came as exports had only resumed in January 2023, following a previous ban that began in 2020 following a separate discovery.

The news coincides with the Chinese Premier Li Qiang’s visit to Ireland.

Farmers had saw the visit as an opportunity to for politicians to lobby to get the market reopened to them again.

It is hoped that exports to China will begin again soon.

During the open period last year beef exports to China were worth €20 million and in 2019, the last full year of access to the market, exports were worth €40 million.

The news of the reopening has been welcomed by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue.

He said: “Negotiating the resumption of beef access has been a top priority for me since the temporary suspension last November.

“My department has engaged at diplomatic, political and technical levels to provide the scientific and technical detail needed to reassure the Chinese authorities of the effectiveness of Ireland’s BSE controls.

“These efforts culminated in the presentation of detailed epidemiological information to China in early December, and my department delivered a detailed presentation to GACC Vice Minister Li Kuiwen at a face-to-face meeting in Dublin last month.

“I wish to thank the Chinese experts for their positive and constructive approach to this matter.”

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