Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Michelle McIlveen is today embarking on a major agri-food trade mission to China.
The Minister will undertake a series of high profile meetings and visits to build on and further strengthen the existing trade and knowledge sharing links between Northern Ireland and China.
Speaking as she departed for her week-long visit, Miss McIlveen said: “There is no doubt that China is an increasingly important export market for Northern Ireland food producers. There are also many cultural and historic links between our two countries that are continuing to grow. My visit will help cement these mutually beneficial ties and further propel the overall image of Northern Ireland in what is the most populous country in the world.
“I recently had the pleasure of welcoming a delegation from China’s Jiangxi Province to Stormont, and have had valuable meetings with Chinese Consul General Madam Wang Shuying in Belfast. This reciprocal visit, organised with invaluable assistance from the Northern Ireland Executive’s Bureau in China and Invest NI, will give me the opportunity to, among other engagements, give a keynote opening speech to the opening ceremony of the highly prestigious China Yangling Agricultural Hi-Tech Fair and to visit local companies participating in the major Food Hotel China exhibition in Shanghai.
“I want to maximise this opportunity to convey Northern Ireland’s commitment to the production of high quality, safe and wholesome food from our unique local environment, while exploring new and existing areas for exchanging knowledge, ideas and experience in the field of research and technology.”
While in Shaanxi Province, the Minister will lead a senior UK delegation in a formal meeting with the Governor Mr Hu Heping, and she will also meet the UK Consul General, John Edwards, in Shanghai.
Miss McIlveen concluded: “I am very much looking forward to fulfilling a packed schedule of engagements in China. I will be very proud to lead and represent the Northern Ireland agri-food sector on this hugely important stage.”