Irish meat, dairy and food products have a highly rated and hard earned reputation in terms of quality, safety, animal welfare and sustainability all over the world. My officials continue to work towards opening and enhancing access to as many markets as possible. This is a key part of our response to the challenges and uncertainty posed by Brexit, and is in line with the market development theme of the Food Wise 2025 strategy and the 7 Point Action Plan on market access that I launched in April 2017.
The long-term fundamentals of the global dairy and meat markets are strong, with growing global demand projected from fast developing countries with increasing middle classes and more westernised diets. Whilst significant challenges have continued throughout recent years, in particular price volatility in the dairy sector, there is confidence that the Irish food industry is well placed to gain from the opportunity presented by expanding global demand, underpinned by the success of our efforts and those of the Irish food industry.
The opening of the Chinese beef market to six Irish beef establishments in 2018 was a notable success, following several years of effort. My officials are in the process of trying to get additional establishments approved by the Chinese authorities. In 2018 markets for Irish beef, sheepmeat and poultry were also opened in Kuwait and Qatar.
Enhanced market access for Irish dairy was secured with a number of destination markets in 2017 and 2018. Agreement with third country competent authorities was reached resulting in renegotiated bilateral certification requirements for various dairy product categories, including with Japan and Mexico.
The role of my Department is to open up markets for the industry and it is then up to the industry with the support of my Department and Bord Bia, to avail of these opportunities. However, the actual levels of exports will depend on a range of factors, including as global supply and demand dynamics, currency fluctuations and individual customer requirements.