The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney is leading a major trade promotion to the US which will mark the arrival of Irish beef there for the first time in 15 years.

The trade mission will cover three cities, New York, Washington D.C, and Boston, with high-profile promotional events around Irish beef planned for each city.

Speaking in advance of the visit the Minister said the visit represents a huge opportunity to promote Irish beef in one of the most valuable markets in the world.

“We are visiting now to quickly build on the momentum generated by the US announcement last month that Ireland is the only EU Member State approved for access there. This confers a real first-mover advantage on Irish beef which we will be exploiting to its fullest next week.

“Leading Irish beef companies will accompany the Minister on the visit, along with Bord Bia who are using the tour to launch their strategy for the marketing of Irish beef in the US.”

The Department has confirmed that it has already approved two Irish plants for export and that these have been cleared by the US authorities to commence trade. A number of other Irish plants are working their way through the approval process.

Beef from the EU has been off the retail shelves in the US since it imposed its ban for BSE reasons over 15 years ago. After intensive technical and political engagement over the last two years, Ireland is now the first EU country to be allowed back into the market.

Bord Bia Chief Executive Aidan Cotter said the campaign to make Irish the beef of choice for high end customers in foodservice and retail, emerged from comprehensive consumer and trade research undertaken by Bord Bia since 2012.

“Our research confirms that Irish beef fully meets the US consumer’s expectations of purity, simplicity and grass fed and is reinforced by our sustainable Irish beef story. The US consumer wants to ‘taste the difference’ and will pay more for Irish beef based on quality.

On Tuesday the Minister will address both the World Bank and the School of International Studies at the prestigious John Hopkins University on the sustainable development of the Irish agri-food sector.

These events will be an opportunity to increase the profile of the Irish agri-food sector, and outline the strategy for its development, to current and future opinion shapers in the US and internationally.