Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has met with key Government officials in Beijing to discuss progress on applications for the export of pork to China.
The Minister held positive and constructive discussions with the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) in Beijing. During the meeting, the Minister expressed her thanks to AQSIQ Deputy Director-General Bi for the interest he has shown in Northern Ireland’s application and for the recent inspection visits of pork establishments.
Minister O’Neill stated: “I am committed to achieving export status for our recently inspected pork plants and coldstores and will continue to work with AQSIQ to realise this goal. The inspection teams visited the north in April and are now compiling their reports.
“Therefore I welcomed the opportunity to have face-to-face engagement with AQSIQ here in Beijing. My discussions were two-fold: to thank them for their recent inspection visits into the north and to press for an expedited approval process to allow our local pork processors to begin to export their high quality products to China.”
The Minister added: “AQSIQ Deputy Director-General Bi remarked on the high standards of pork production displayed in the inspected plants. He added that the team were grateful for the support provided to them by DARD during their visit to the north. This inspection, along with our meeting, has demonstrated our mutual commitment to develop a long-term future relationship between the north and China.”
During the course of her week-long visit, Minister O’Neill is also meeting a range of key organisations to seek their support in promoting Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry in China. These include the influential state bodies with responsibility for the regulation of food and drug safety (CFDA) and for the import/export of food (COFCO). She will also meet the EU Ambassador to China as well as leaders in some of Beijing’s main agricultural universities. The Minister is also due to visit a farm to enhance her understanding of the development of agriculture in China and its government’s priorities for the sector.