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EU-China beef trade could reopen this year

Staff writer |
EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan said Ireland is one of six European countries where Chinese veterinary inspectors are performing an audit this week.

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Hogan is hopeful that beef trade with China will resume before the end of the year.

“I would be hopeful that our discussions today and the visits by the audit teams this week to various establishments in the European Union this week will yield positive results this year,” Hogan said at a European food promotion event in Beijing, part of a tour of China and Japan.

China banned EU beef imports over mad cow disease, or BSE, 16 years ago, but last year it was announced that the ban was being lifted for Irish beef.

“We have six countries where we are hopeful that in the course of this year they will be able to reopen the trade notwithstanding the fact that there is a considerable period time since the ban was brought into effect,” said Hogan.

The six countries are Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Britain, Belgium and Italy. A shipment of beef from Hungary arrived in Shanghai in January, after China reached a frozen beef import deal with Budapest in 2014.

China was the second largest importer of EU agricultural and processed agricultural products in 2015, receiving eight per cent of all EU agricultural exports.

The main EU agricultural exports to China include infant food, pork, offal, wines and spirits, and dairy products.

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