Export approval officials in China have confirmed that they are “impressed” by the standard of pork production in Northern Ireland (NI) and that they are working hard to complete their report on potential NI/China trading possibilities.
This positive message was given to NI agriculture minister, Michelle O’Neill, when she visited China for a series of meetings with key government officials in the country to “discuss and progress a range of issues”.
Following negotiations with officials at the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), who are working on approval issues covering the export of pork from NI to China, the minister said: “I held positive and constructive discussions with AQSIQ to thank them for their recent inspection visits to the north and to maintain momentum on the approval process.
“I conveyed the importance the pork producers of the north place on accessing the Chinese market for their traceable, safe, wholesome and high quality produce. AQSIQ confirmed that they were impressed by our standards of pork production and that they would work hard to complete our report very soon. They also thanked me for coming to meet them in Beijing.”
Minister O’Neill also held discussions with key agricultural figures based in Beijing including the vice-president of the Chinese Agricultural University and representatives from Chinese industry.
“While my overarching strategic objective is to enhance the north of Ireland-China relationship by fostering opportunities for gain for the north in the agri-product and agri-food sector, I welcomed this opportunity to develop contacts with senior academics who have influence in the spheres of agriculture, science and agricultural education. Such linkages will work to facilitate the exchange of scientific knowledge and education which will deepen bonds and deliver real results for the people of China and the north of Ireland.”
She also met with COFCO, China’s largest food wholesaler and a major importer of meat and dairy products to “underline NI’s high standards” and discuss the priorities of local industry in NI for accessing the Chinese market.
Headline image shows Michelle O’Neill, just returned from China, giving her backing to Rural Support’s “wear wellies to work day”. Rural Support provides a confidential helpline for farmers & rural dwellers across Northern Ireland.