An unconfirmed report has suggested Chinese companies may call on authorities to undertake an “anti-subsidy investigation” into EU dairy imports.
Claim Chinese industries seek investigation into EU dairy imports

An unconfirmed report has suggested Chinese companies may call on authorities to undertake an “anti-subsidy investigation” into EU dairy imports.

In a social media post, the Chinese state-backed newspaper, The Global Times, claimed that “relevant” industries in the country are “preparing evidence”.

The paper said it has been informed by “a business insider” that these companies “plan to apply to competent authorities” to launch a probe into imports of “relevant dairy products from the EU”.

The Global Times post on X, formerly Twitter, did not provide any further information on the story.

The social media post comes against a backdrop of heightened tensions between China and the European Union which have been sparked by a series of trade investigations by both parties.

This includes an EU Commission investigation into subsidies on Chinese electric vehicles.

China is the third destination for the EU’s agri-food exports, accounting for nearly 7% of the bloc’s total agri-food trade.

The EU exported €1.7 billion worth of dairy products to China in 2023, down from just over €2 billion in the previous year.

A spokesperson for the European Commission told Agriland that it does not comment on speculation.

Dairy

According to Bord Bia, China, the world’s largest dairy importer, saw its overall demand for 2023 fall slightly behind 2022 levels at just under 16.5 million tonnes.

Irish total global dairy exports were valued at an estimated €6.3 billion in 2023, down almost 8% on the previous year.

The value of Irish dairy exports to China stood at €420 million in 2023, a drop of 5% on 2022, driven by lower trade on whey and skim milk powder (SMP).

Exports of specialised nutritional powders, casein, milk and cream from Ireland to China were in line with, or slightly ahead of 2022 demand levels.

Dairy cow grazing

Data from StoneX shows that domestic dairy production in China is predicted to again rise by around 2% in 2024.

However, even with increased availability of locally produced dairy products, the market would still need to import almost 17 million tonnes of dairy products, StoneX said.

Agriland has contacted the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and Bord Bia for comment on the reports.

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