Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Questions (89)

Willie Penrose


89. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the way in which foreign trade missions in 2019 will benefit the sheep meat sector here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28079/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The pursuit and development of new markets for Irish agri-food exports is  a constant and central component of the strategic development of the industry, as evidenced by its placement at the centre of Food Wise 2025, the industry’s strategy for development. Food Wise 2025 prioritises the potential for growth in new and emerging markets, particularly in Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Gulf region.

Trade Missions play an important role in this market development. I have been very active on this front in 2019, with successful trade missions completed to date to Turkey, China, Japan and Korea.

In May, during the China Trade mission, I met with Zhang Jiwen - Vice Minister of General Administration of Customs in China (GACC) and his officials. After this meeting, I was able to confirm that we have commenced the first steps with regard to market access for sheepmeat to China. Officials from GACC will visit Ireland this August to inspect five sheep meat plants that wish to export to China. 

In June, on the Japanese trade mission, I met both my counterpart, Japanese Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Takamori Yoshikawa and the Vice Minister for Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), Masayoshi Shintani. These Ministerial meetings followed detailed technical meetings involving senior officials from both Ministries. At the conclusion of these meetings,  I was delighted to announce that we had reached agreement in principle on market access for Irish sheepmeat. Details will be finalised by an exchange of letters between my Department and the relevant Japanese officials

These achievements are tangible results of the increased focus of my Department on opening and enhancing access to key markets. This success has taken detailed work by our market access experts, audit and inspection visits by competent authorities from international markets, and an intensified agri-food trade mission agenda. This work is informed and supported by Bord Bia’s market insights, strategic marketing and promotion programme.  This intensive work programme reflects our shared Food Wise strategy and represents a fundamental and practical response to the challenges posed by Brexit.