Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Ceisteanna (276)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

276. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason it is not possible to export rapeseed or rapeseed oil produced here to China; the discussions he has had with the Chinese authorities with regard to the export of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12656/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

As the Deputy will be aware, Ireland enjoys an excellent trading relationship with China and it has become our fourth largest trading partner in the agrifood sector.

In addition, my Department also engages with Chinese officials at multiple levels. Political visits in both directions at the very highest level, technical engagement between officials providing assurance on food safety standards, and a programme of internships in my Department for Chinese veterinary officials have all played an important part in building trust and developing key relationships.

This ongoing interaction and deepening co-operation has been reflected in the growth of Irish food and drink exports to China, with approximately €800 million worth exported in 2018.

Annual rapeseed cultivation in Ireland has averaged approximately 10,000 hectares over the last four years and represents only approximately 2.3% of the total crop production in the State.

I am not aware of any contact with my Department in relation to growers seeking market access to China.