The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) builds on the agri-food partnership and includes exchanges of ideas and knowledge on areas of mutual interest by setting out future cooperation between both countries.
Simon Coveney, minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, co-hosted the China-Ireland Food Safety Forum in the dairy and infant formula sectors, where the MOU was signed.
The event was jointly hosted with Bi Jingquan who is Minister with responsibility for the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA).
Exports of dairy products increased from €104M in 2010 to €395M in 2014, up 280% over the same period and trade to mid year (end June 2015) was up 25% in the dairy sector year on year.
Infant formula accounts for the majority of trade in the dairy sector, having grown from €81M in 2010 to €300M in 2014, a growth of 270% over the period and trade to mid year (end June 2015) was up 43% in the infant formula sector year on year.
Minister Coveney said it was another milestone in Ireland’s growing agri-food partnership with China.
“Our agri-food exports to China have grown over 270% to €620m in just five years and this year alone dairy exports from Ireland to China are up 25% on last year," he said.
“This is testament to the strong resonance which the reliability and quality of our products have with Chinese consumers because we know that they are expecting the best.”
The forum is part of Minister Bi’s visit to Ireland during which he visited a dairy farm in Co. Wicklow to learn more about production in Ireland before visiting the Danone plant in Co. Wexford which is one of Ireland’s largest producers of baby and infant food products.
Minister Bi also went to Kerry Group’s Technology and Innovation Centre in Naas, Co. Kildare while Bord Bia hosted a parallel seminar on Irish dairy production for industry representatives.