At a meeting with Minister Zhi Shuping in Dublin, Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, thanked the Chinese authorities and the SFPA for reaching a conclusion on a “difficult issue”.
Susan Steele, chair of the SFPA said that Health Certificates and Catch Certificates validated the provenance and safety of Ireland’s seafood produce going to non-EU countries, including China:
“Facilitating optimal market access for compliant fishers and producers ensures the best economic return for catches and is a key part of our compliance strategy. We’re delighted at this announcement. “We will now move towards the necessary operational arrangements to implement this agreement, both at point of export and point of import, with a view to actual resumption of trade shortly.”
Independent TD Thomas Pringle said the announcement was “very good news” for Irish and Donegal exporters, but noted the gross loss of export sales in 2016 at almost €5m. “I am concerned that it took almost a year and a half to reach this solution…The UK ended the ban within 12 months and France had it resolved after only eight months.”
In 2010, Ireland secured market access in China for live crab through bi-lateral co-operation between Irish authorities and their Chinese counterparts. This access built on previous arrangements for fisheries products and is part of wider trade missions to expand access for Irish food and seafood products in China.
Exports have increased to almost €3m with many Irish sea-fishing boats now providing product for seafood export companies. China is an increasingly important market for Irish seafood particularly in the context of Brexit.