“The way is open for exports of Hungarian beef to China”, Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas announced on Thursday in Beijing after signing an agreement to this effect with Chinese Minister of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine Zhi Shuping.

The so-called Beef Protocol now enables the export of Hungarian beef carcasses to China, which may be regarded as yet another step forward for Hungarian agricultural exports on the important Chinese market, Minister Fazekas told Hungarian news agency MTI at the event.

Together with the head of the Quarantine Office, we also reviewed current certification procedures regarding poultry and pork, the Minister said, adding that the accreditation process for milk is also under preparation.

DownloadPhoto: Péter Trebitsch

Referring to the fact that during Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó’s visit to China in October, the parties had announced that the way was also clear for exports of Hungarian pork, goose, duck and rabbit products to China, Minister Zhi Shuping said that in view of these opportunities Hungary has achieved a prominent role. He also stated that on-site inspections by Chinese authorities had confirmed the fact that Hungarian meat processing and cold storage units operate at a standard that conforms to China’s high quality requirements.

In reply to a question regarding what concrete effects the opportunity to export raw beef to China will have in Hungary, Minister Sándor Fazekas said he trusts that the Hungarian beef sector, including the breeders of premium quality Hungarian grey cattle, will exploit this new opportunity.

The majority of Hungarian exports in the sector are currently live animals, and the Minister hopes that exports will begin to move towards a higher level of processing and accordingly towards products that may be marketed at more favourable prices, he added.

DownloadPhoto: Péter Trebitsch

Mr. Fazekas also pointed out that the number of cattle in Hungary has been continuously increasing over the past three years, increasing by 8-10 ten percent last year, for example. The new opportunity will also make it easier for farmers to further increase animal stocks, the Minister added, stressing that China is a very demanding and affluent market.

On Thursday, Sándor Fazakas met with Deputy Ministry of Agriculture Yang Shaopin, with whom, amongst other topics, he discussed the possibility of Hungary hosting an economic forum between China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe in the autumn of 2015.

Referring to his earlier program in Shanghai, Mr. Fazekas also reminded the press that ninety Hungarian wine producers and vineyards had been showcased on the Hungarian stand at the Prowine international wine industry expo, in addition to which the best Hungarian wines had been given special place.

“We currently sell some 20 thousand hectolitres of wine to China every year, which we would like to increase further”, the Minister said, adding that wine consumption is growing rapidly in the world’s most populated country and Hungary must also establish a strong presence on this promising market.