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Northern Ireland Minister to Promote Pork Industry in China

03 June 2015

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill is visiting Beijing on 1-5 June 2015, on a mission to support applications for the export of pork to China and to champion the north’s agri-food industry.

Speaking ahead of her departure, Ms O'Neill said: "China is a vital market for our exports. It is expected to become the world’s leading consumer of pig meat on a per capita basis, surpassing the European Union, by 2022.

"I am committed to helping our pork industry gain a market share of this lucrative market and that is why it is important for me meet Chinese officials to progress these negotiations on behalf of our pork processors and cold stores.

"I welcomed the two inspection team audits of our pork processors in April which represented a significant milestone in the approval process."

During the course of her week-long visit, Ms O’Neill will meet with China’s department with responsibility for quality and food inspection, AQSIQ, with whom she will discuss pork exports.

She will also meet with a range of partners in Beijing to seek their support in promoting the north’s agri-food industry with the Chinese authorities. These include the influential state bodies with responsibility for the regulation of food and drug safety (CFDA) and for the import/export of food (COFCO), the EU Ambassador to China and leaders in some of Beijing’s main agricultural universities.

She will take the opportunity to visit a farm in China to enhance her understanding of the development of agriculture in China and its government’s priorities for the sector.

She continued: "I will use the opportunity to build on the important relationships established to date by thanking the Chinese authorities in person for visiting the north. I am hopeful my visit will maintain momentum on the approval process.

"While I am pleased we already export dairy products and cattle hides to China, I also remain focused on agreeing future access for beef and chicken. I look forward to a positive outcome for our industry."

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