Measures to further develop and diversify markets for Irish pigmeat and pigmeat products are undoubtedly the most effective means of maintaining stable export flows and minimising trade disruption.
Increasing international market access for Irish agri-food exports is a core element of Food Wise 2025, the strategic framework for developing the overall agri-food sector. The strategy recognises that market entry and penetration is essential to ensure a fair return for primary producers of all meat species. The market development part of the strategy is being implemented by a seven-point action plan launched in April 2017. This plan has been activated through a series of actions undertaken in conjunction with Bord Bia and our overseas embassy network. Progress on action plan goals and objectives is reviewed on an ongoing basis by my Department's internal High-Level Market Access Committee.
Pigmeat is the fourth most valuable export of Irish agri-food sector after dairy, beef and beverages. During 2019, Ireland exported pigmeat to over 50 different countries with international markets accounting for approximately one-third of Irish pigmeat exports in value terms. Currently, Irish pigmeat can be exported to a range of international markets including China, Japan, South Korea, the USA and Canada, and most recently, Mexico, which opened to Irish pigmeat exports in May 2020.
The short-term outlook for pigmeat markets will be influenced by global supply and demand dynamics as well as by potential further market disturbance caused by the pandemic and the effect of ongoing uncertainty around Brexit. Nevertheless, my Department will continue to support the Irish pigmeat sector and facilitate its development by prioritising market access both through maintaining existing markets and pursuing access to new ones.