€7.75 million worth of Irish beef exported to US up to October

1,766t of beef worth approximately €7.75 million was exported to the US during the first 10 months of 2018, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed.

In response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fail spokesperson for agriculture Charlie McConalogue, the minister outlined meat and dairy exports to the US in recent years, following the granting of beef market access in 2015.

In his response, the minister said: “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 two are also approved for BIFG.

Ireland does not have access for processed beef, also called manufactured beef, the minister added.

Turning to pork, Minister Creed noted that Ireland has enjoyed uninterrupted access to the US market for raw pork since 2001 and a total of three plants are approved for the export of raw pork to the US.

“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 US will depend in the first instance on the US lifting its TSE ban on EU sheepmeat, he added.

“My department submitted a sheepmeat questionnaire 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 US and with visiting US officials to Ireland.

However, it is not possible to predict a timeline for sheepmeat market access to the US.

The minister outlined that his department’s remit is to open new markets and maintain existing markets for Irish food exports and overall targets are set out for agri-food exports in Foodwise 2025, in terms of an increase to €19 billion by 2025.

He added that the Department of Agriculture works closely with the meat and dairy industry in Ireland.

However, he said: “Once a market has been opened trade arrangements are left to individual companies and exporters and the actual trade volumes will vary depending on a range of factors such as currency fluctuations, global supply and demand, and local and international factors.

In 2018 Irish agri-food exports reached an estimated €13.6 billion. Within that, dairy exports exceeded €4 billion, an increase in volume of 5% on the 2017 levels and overall meat and livestock exports increased by 1% to an estimated €3.97 billion.

This is according to the Bord Bia Performance and Prospects 2018/2019 report launched last week.

The minister gave a breakdown of exports to the US to date using Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures.

The US was the second biggest destination for Irish food exports in 2017 after the UK and up to the end of October 2018, after the UK, he added.