My officials continue to work towards opening and enhancing access to as many markets as possible. This is a key part of our response to the challenges and uncertainty posed by Brexit, and in line with the market development theme of the Food Wise 2025 strategy.
The opening of the Chinese market for Irish beef in 2018 was the culmination of significant work over a number of years and I am pleased that six Irish beef plants are currently approved to export beef to China.
Exports of Irish beef to China commenced during the summer 2018. According to CSO trade statistics, Ireland exported approximately €2.8 million (1,400 tonnes) to China in 2018. In addition, Ireland has had beef access to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for some time, and exported €62 million (19,000 tonnes) to that market in 2018.
My officials continue to liaise with the appropriate Chinese officials on market access and plant approvals in order to increase Ireland's ability to supply the market. There are currently 15 Irish beef plants which have sought approval to export beef to China and my officials are working on progressing these applications, However, the timeline for these approvals remains a matter for the Chinese authorities.
I do not have any information in relation to the company named by the Deputy. It is not a beef plant that is approved and supervised by my Department.