Inspectors will visit Northern Ireland next week in what could be the final step for the pork industry in securing approval for exports to China.
The upcoming inspection by the Chinese Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) has been welcomed by Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill who hailed the visit as ‘an important milestone.’
The Minister said the inspection by the CNCA follows an audit of processors by a separate team of Chinese inspectors earlier this month to approve Northern Ireland and Britain to export
She added: “Being able to export such fifth quarter, in addition to our high quality pork, is important for our industry as it will provide a valuable market for those parts of the animal which would not usually be consumed by the domestic market.”
The Minister said her previous visits to China and those of her officials have all been geared toward progressing these important trade negotiations.
She added: “Having met with industry on a number of occasions, I am acutely aware how important accessing the lucrative Chinese market is to assisting them in achieving their ambitious growth targets. I will be ensuring momentum is maintained by seeking to finalise the approval to export as soon as possible following these visits.”
Following the inspection planned for 27 and 28 April, the CNCA will make a final determination on approving Northern Ireland to export pig meat and pig meat products to China.
Inspectors from the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) visited Northern Ireland on 17 April to assess pig trotter and other fifth quarter production standards. If they are confident in the processing standards in place they will agree to add such products to the list of commodities eligible for export to the Chinese market.