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Further important step in the development of Ireland’s trade with China

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, has welcomed today’s announcement that Kerry Group has entered into a partnership agreement with Beingmate of China, for the supply of Irish dairy ingredients for infant nutrition applications in China.

Minister Coveney said that this is another tangible outcome to the increased level of cooperation and trade between Ireland and China which has been developed in recent times. Speaking after the signing of the agreement today, Minister Coveney said that the relationship between Kerry Group and Beingmate was built on the strong international reputation of Ireland as a producer of the highest quality food stuffs.

“This partnership is the product of the hard work and dedication of the Kerry Group, which has developed key business relationships across the globe on the basis of a reputation for quality and excellence. This reputation is built on the back of the very strong brand image of Ireland as a supplier of high quality foodstuffs, produced in a sustainable way, to the highest international food safety standards. The fact that Ireland is now seen as the major supplier for infant nutritionals worldwide is an indication of the esteem in which Irish food safety control systems, and the quality of Ireland’s grass-based farm produce, are held internationally. Maintaining this strong reputation must be a priority”, said the Minister.

Referring to Food Harvest 2020, the Minister said that this announcement was entirely consistent with the objectives laid down for the development of the dairy sector in that report; “Food Harvest 2020 is about smart, green growth, and the key growth area for the planned 50% increase in dairy production will be in export markets. Developing relationships with significant international trading nations has been a priority for me. In this context I have led missions to countries like China in order to develop the profile of Ireland as a supplier of top class food products. I am certain that this work will help to pave the way for Irish companies in the agri food sector to develop positive business relationships in these markets. Today’s announcement by the Kerry Group builds on this work, and is a further important step in the development of Ireland’s trade with China. It is a clear indication of the tremendous potential of the Chinese market for Irish agri food businesses”.

The Minister also referred to the critical importance of environmental sustainability as a foundation for international trade, commenting “While the work we are doing at political and commercial level in China and elsewhere is critically important, it must be supported by an environmentally sustainable production models at all levels of the supply chain. Procurement divisions in all of the major multinational food companies have sustainability at the heart of their corporate agendas. Ireland is the first country, internationally, to develop an independently accredited sustainability model at industry level, through Bord BIA’s ‘Origin Green’ initiative. At farm level, the development of a dairy sustainability programme is at an advanced stage. I am confident that these initiatives will provide essential building blocks for Irish food companies to increase international trade in China and elsewhere”.

Concluding, the Minister wished the Kerry Group and Beingmate every success in what is the latest in a number of mutually beneficial collaborative business arrangements between China and Ireland.

Notes for Editors

Beingmate is a leading manufacturer of infant nutrition products headquartered in Hangzhou, in China. The Partnership announced today provides strong export growth opportunities for added value dairy ingredients from Kerry Group’s dairy processing facilities in Charleville, County Cork and Listowel, County Kerry.