Creed begins 5-day trade mission to US and Canada

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed will today lead a delegation involving Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, and Irish food industry representatives, on a five day trade mission to the US and Canada.

Speaking in advance of the mission, Minister Creed stressed the importance of strengthening trading relationships against the background of Brexit; plus, creating opportunities for the Irish agri-food sector to grow in international markets.

The value of Irish agri food exports to North America continues to grow. This mission is an opportunity to strengthen and develop existing relationships in the United States.

The minister also intends to build on the recent free trade agreement between the EU and Canada, by raising the profile of Ireland as a source of quality food and beverages and by boosting export values. 

“Leveraging the very strong presence of the Irish Embassies in Washington and Ottawa, and in collaboration with industry and our State Agencies, we want to highlight the credentials of Ireland’s food and drink sector from a food safety, sustainability and authenticity perspective, in order to develop a unique selling point for Irish product,” he said.

The value of Irish food and drink exports to the United States has doubled since 2012, exceeding €1 billion in 2017 for the first time. Exports to Canada totalled at €104 million in 2017.

The five city itinerary, encompassing over 20 official engagements, begins at the North American Meat Industry Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, tomorrow.

Bord Bia will also launch a targeted retail and food service engagement campaign at the conference.

Major Irish meat processing companies will have an opportunity to promote quality Irish meat to potential buyers and distributors.

The itinerary also includes engagements in Chicago, Ottawa, Toronto, and Washington.

Building a platform

Speaking ahead of the US leg of the trade mission, Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy said: “Our recent market prioritisation report identified significant potential in North American markets for Irish meat, dairy, beverages and prepared consumer foods. We are following up on this report now.

“This trade mission has provided Bord Bia with an opportunity to deliver a series of high-level targeted trade engagements, in partnership with Irish food and beverage companies.

I am certain that it can help to build a platform for an increased presence for Irish food and beverage products in this part of the world.

Minister Creed will also meet key influencers in both administrations, including Canadian Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAuley in Ottawa on Wednesday, February 28.

He will facilitate engagement between Irish companies and potential customers, and through Enterprise Ireland, with potential investors in the Irish agri food sector.

The mission will conclude with a series of official meetings in Washington DC on Friday, March 2.