Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed announced the access following prolonged talks with the Chinese authorities.
According to Irish broadcaster, RTE, ABP in Clones in Co Monaghan, Slaney Meats based in Co Wexford, and Donegal Meat Processors have all been given approval for access to China, with the hope that five more Irish plants will be given the green light as well.
Ireland is the first European beef exporter to secure access to the country which imported more than 700,000 tonnes of beef in 2017.
Although annual per capita beef consumption in China is currently 4-6kg, compared to 19kg in Ireland. Consumption is on the rise and an average annual increase of just 1kg per capita would equate to an additional 1.38 million tonnes of beef per annum.
By 2020, it is estimated Chinese consumers will eat close to nine million tonnes of beef.
Ireland's food and drink organisation Bord Bía has welcomed the announcement.
CEO Tara McCarthy said: “Bord Bía, and in particular, our Shanghai office, has been actively planning and preparing for today’s breakthrough, and we are now well-positioned and ready to maximise this significant opportunity for Irish beef exporters.
“Today’s timely announcement follows just days after we hosted the China Meat Association and 17 senior representatives from leading Chinese meat importers as part of our Marketplace International event. All of the visiting Chinese delegates had the opportunity to visit Irish beef farms and processors, giving them a first-hand experience and insight into Irish food production.
“Ireland’s agri-food industry already enjoys a strong trade relationship with China. Exports were valued at almost €1 billion last year, while China is our second largest export market for dairy and pork, behind the UK. The opening of Irish beef access is testimony to our industry’s strength, reputation and proven track record in the Chinese market.”