Market access to Asian markets ‘strategically important’ for Irish livestock sectors

Achieving market access in Asian growth markets is strategically important to the future growth plans for the Irish meat and livestock sectors, Director of Meat Industry Ireland (MII), Cormac Healy has said.

Healy’s comments come as an Irish delegation, including Minister Michael Creed, visits Vietnam and China this week as part of a trade mission to push greater access to these markets for Irish meat.

The relevance of maximising Ireland’s market options has been increased in the aftermath of the UK Brexit decision, he said.

“The importance of making progress on access to these markets for the Irish meat sector is reflected in the strong delegation from across the industry that is participating this week.

“Both China and Vietnam are already important markets for Irish pigmeat and the trade mission is a great opportunity to consolidate and build on existing business as well as the important task of delivering access for Irish beef and sheepmeat.

“During the week, MII has also pushed for access for skins and hides to the Vietnamese market.

Healy said that while the process is painstaking, achieving market access in these growth markets is strategically important to the future growth plans for the Irish meat and livestock sectors.

MII, the body which represents the meat processors, participated in the Irish food information seminars in both Vietnam and China, which were well attended by representatives from both the industries there and Government officials.

‘Ireland’s reputation in China as a producer of quality and safe food gaining traction’

Meanwhile, speaking in Beijing this week, Chief Executive of Bord Bia, Aidan Cotter said that Ireland’s reputation in China as a producer of quality, safe and sustainably produced food is gaining traction thanks to the success of our dairy and pigmeat exports.

“Irish pigmeat exports for the first five months of 2016 have increased by 16% to 108,000t compared to the corresponding period in 2015.

“China is our second largest market for pigmeat exports, accounting for almost 30% of total exports and in the first five months of 2016 they rose by 94% to 31,000t reflecting strengthening demand for product in this market.”

Cotter welcomed the progress made by Minister Creed on access to China for Irish beef.

“Bord Bia’s Consumer Insight team visited China recently to assess the consumer sentiment in relation to Irish beef and one of the big themes to emerge was the extent to which Chinese consumers are prepared to pay a premium for quality beef.

“It all points to a big opportunity for Irish beef which is perceived as a healthy and naturally nutritious source of protein,” he said.

This week’s trade mission has been organised and coordinated by Bord Bia and sees over 90 delegates from the Irish agri-food industry are visiting Vietnam, South Korea, China and Singapore.

Last year Ireland exported over €950m worth of food and drink to Asia, up 260% since 2010. China accounts for €514m of those exports, an increase of 16% on 2014 driven by increased dairy, pigmeat and to a lesser extent seafood.