The document referred to by the Deputy is the World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE) Terrestrial Animal Health Code, specifically in relation to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and the recommendations to manage health risks associated with the presence of the BSE agent in cattle.
Last year, Irish beef was exported to nearly 70 countries worldwide according to CSO trade statistics. Of these, a small number of importing markets mandate protective BSE-related restrictions which are more stringent than those recommended by the World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE).
The third country markets which currently specify more stringent conditions for Irish beef on this basis are Algeria, Barbados, China, Egypt, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore (bone-in beef) and Turkey. In 2019, Ireland exported beef to three of these markets - China, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.
My Department works continuously on expanding market access for Irish meat and meat products across a range of markets. In tandem, we continue to work to maintain access to existing markets as well as to simplify certification procedures and improve certification conditions in existing markets.
Our ultimate aim is to negotiate veterinary health conditions for the export of meat and meat products to third countries that do not place an unacceptably high burden on Irish meat exporters. However, this is a lengthy, technically detailed process and is subject to agreement with the importing country. Where there are stringent technical demands for the export of meat to a Third Country, my Department seeks to continue negotiations with such countries to remove or reduce the impact of the requirement.