Industry ‘optimistic’ in preparation for Korean beef access – Creed

Positive signs are evident in the quest to gain access for Irish beef to South Korea, according to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed, who noted that businesses are making preparations for when access is granted.

“There seems to be a recognition that we’re going to get there among the industry here and there’s kind of preparatory work being made on a business-to-business level.

“It’s an exciting market; talking to our own industry there’s quite a lot of optimism that, once the ‘white flag is raised’ and the market is opened, there will be business to be done here.”

The minister also noted that the events of last week’s trade mission to both Japan and South Korea were “creating an awareness of who we are, and what it is we have to offer – which in many respects is different to what other countries are offering here in terms of the beef market”.

“And of course we’re in here already in pork and dairy – and we’ve had emphasis on those matters as well on the trade mission,” Minister Creed said.

Minister Creed highlighted that Ireland is at “step five of an eight-step process”, and that a vote would be required in the country’s parliament before that process can continue – but was optimistic on the progress that had been made following a meeting with South Korean Vice-Minister Lee Jae-Ouk.

Asian markets

Turning to two other key Asian markets identified by Bord Bia last year as priority markets for Irish agri exports – Vietnam and the Philippines – the minister said that efforts are being made to make progress in Asia.

He said: “I was in the Philippines late last year; the Asian market generally is identified as an area where we’re trying to make progress and each of them, each country and competent authority, has a different regime and set of circumstances to meet – but we’re trying to make progress on all of them.”

Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy also commented on the markets, adding: “The €3.9 million campaign that we’ve launched, the minister launched with us today, is also for Vietnam and the Philippines – so we’ll be undertaking a much more intensive promotional play to talk and build awareness.

Obviously step one is market access – but what we’re increasingly trying to do is, in tandem with market access, [ensure] that we’re building demand before we have that; building awareness of ourselves.

“And it’s through activities like this that we’re able to get 80% funding of that work from Europe in order to build the pathway of future business from the companies,” McCarthy concluded.