China, Ireland sign MoU on food safety cooperation

China, Ireland sign MoU on food safety cooperation

Chinese and Irish regulators have struck a deal that will see new cooperation between the two countries on food safety issues.

A Memorandum of Understanding was singed earlier this week by Irelands Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, and China's Minister with responsibility for the China Food and Drug Administration, Bi Jingguan. The MoU set out future cooperation between both countries on food safety issues.

Coveney commented: “This MOU signifies that our agri-food partnership with China is about much more than trade and includes exchanges of ideas and knowledge on areas of mutual interest. I was delighted to formalise this relationship between my Department and CFDA this morning and am certain that both organisations will gain substantially from the cooperation. In many ways it mirrors the many partnerships between leading Irish and Chinese agri-food companies and together marks the basis for a sustainable and long-term strategic relationship between both countries.”

The agreement comes as part of Bi's three-day visit to Ireland. Ministers Bi and Coveney co-hosted a “major” China-Ireland Food Safety Forum in the dairy and infant formula sectors.

Coveney said that the meeting was a “milestone” in Ireland's agrii-partnership with China. “Our agri-food exports to China have grown over 270% to EUR620m in just five years and this year alone dairy exports from Ireland to China are up 25% on last year. 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.

“Ireland’s international reputation depends on its meeting the highest expectations of consumers, and as a matter of Government policy, we are committed to strong and effective regulation. Added to the reputation for food safety is of course our growing reputation for sustainability in dairy production and these two factors combined are the bedrock on which our exports are based”.