Thursday, 8 March 2018

Ceisteanna (425)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

425. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the progress on gaining access for Irish meat products, that is, beef, lamb and pigment to the USA; the remaining stages in the approval process outstanding; and the approximate timeframe for all stages to be completed and full access granted. [11232/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The USA was the second biggest destination for Irish food exports in 2017 after the UK. Irish agri food exports to the USA have more than doubled from around €520 million (85,000 tonnes) in 2012 to €1.125 billion (190,000 tonnes) in 2017.

Ireland was the first EU Member State to be granted beef market access to the USA in 2015. In July 2016, my Department received approval to send Beef Intended for Grinding (BIFG), also known as manufacturing beef to the US. A total of 10 Irish plants have been approved for the export of raw intact beef to the US, of which 2 are also approved for BIFG. According to the CSO, beef exports have increased from under 1,000 tonnes in 2015 to over 1,500 tonnes in 2017.

Sheepmeat exports from the EU to the US are currently banned due to the presence of TSE in certain EU Member States. Sheepmeat access to the USA will depend in the first instance on the USA lifting its TSE ban on EU Sheepmeat. The Food Safety Inspection Service of USDA visited Ireland in September 2017, primarily on a beef and pigmeat inspection, but they also visited 2 Irish sheepmeat plants. My Department submitted a sheepmeat questionnaire (SRT) in 2017 in preparation for the lifting of this ban and continues to raise this issue with US officials, both as part of the Trade Missions to the USA and with visiting US officials to Ireland. However, it is not possible to predict a timeline for sheepmeat market access to the USA.

Ireland has enjoyed uninterrupted access to the US market for raw pork since 2001 and a total of 3 plants are approved for the export of raw pork to the USA. Pigmeat exports to the US have increased from €8 million (4,100 tonnes) in 2012 to €19.0 million (4,860 tonnes) in  2017.

Question No. 426 answered with Question No. 423.