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China, huge potential market for Irish food exports: Official

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-04-13 16:02

DUBLIN - China now ranks the second largest market both for Irish dairy and pork exports with huge potential yet to be tapped in the rapidly growing world's second largest economy, said an official here on Thursday.

James O'Donnell, Director Asia of Bord Bia (Irish Food Board), a state agency tasked to market Irish food and drink products overseas, told Xinhua that Ireland exported an estimated 900 million euros ($1.1 billion) of food and drink products to China in 2017, making China the second largest market both for Irish dairy and pork exports in the world.

Last year, Ireland's food and drink exports to China doubled compared with three years ago, said O'Donnell, who is also the head of Bord Bia China Office in Shanghai.

In view of China's population size, its rapidly growing number of middle-class people as well as its increasing demand for quality food and drink products, we see China as a rapidly emerging market for Irish food and drink exports with huge potential in the future, he said.

O'Donnell made the remarks during an interview with Xinhua at a food and drink expo held here by Bord Bia in Royal Dublin Society, the largest exhibition centre in Dublin.

Named "Marketplace International 2018", the week-long food and drink expo, is designed to provide a platform for doing business between food and drink buyers and sellers both from home and abroad.

Nearly 550 buyers, including 395 overseas buyers from over 50 countries, participated in the event which also includes field-trips for buyers in different parts of Ireland to help them get a first-hand insight into Irish farms, factories, retail stores and manufacturing facilities, said Bord Bia in a press release, adding that the event is expected to help buyers and sellers clinch 40 million euros of deals in the coming 18 months.

China sent to the expo the largest delegation of 75 members from different sectors of its food industry, said O'Donnell.

Last year, Ireland exported a total of 12.6 billion euros of food and drink products, of which nearly 70 percent went to European Union countries, a figure indicating a huge potential for the development of the Irish food exports in the other markets of the world including China, he said.

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