The View from Northern Ireland: Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill this afternoon met with key Government officials in China to discuss progress on applications for the export of pork to China.

Negotiations with the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) in China are at an advanced stage and the Minister held important discussions with AQSIQ’s Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China (CNCA) to assist in this the process.

Minister O’Neill stated: “I welcome the opportunity to have direct talks with the CNCA here in Beijing to provide the assurances they require to progress the applications from the north of Ireland. Following my very positive meeting with them, I am encouraged that CNCA have told me they are willing to consider the applications before Christmas, earlier than originally scheduled. I am committed to achieving export status for our pork plants and coldstores and will continue to work with AQSIQ to realise this goal.

“My meetings in China have provided me with the opportunity to raise the issue of Clause of Origin, as I did on my last visit in 2012, to progress my long-term objective of facilitating trade across the island of Ireland.”

The Minister added: “To be able to export our local pork products to China would be a major boost for our agri-food sector. The exporting potential to China, with its growing population, is huge and I am determined to continue to work hard to ensure that this export status is achieved.”