Minister Creed moves for Japan on agri-food trade mission

An agri-food trade mission to Japan and the Republic of Korea will take place this week following both countries having been prioritised as markets with significant growth opportunities for Irish food and drink exports.

The mission will be lead by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, who, speaking ahead of the trade mission, said: “I am delighted to lead my second trade mission to Japan and the Republic of Korea.”

He noted that the aim of the mission is to strengthen and build ties between Ireland and these two countries in relation to agri-food.

“Trade missions help to build the Government-to-Government and business-to-business relationships which can make a real difference to Irish food and drink exporters.”

He further noted that this work is “critically important” against the backdrop of Brexit.

Beef to Japan

According to figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), beef exports to Japan amounted to €3.6 million last year.

Last month’s announcement by Japanese authorities of the removal of the restriction on exports of beef from animals over 30 months, following detailed technical exchanges and an audit visit, offers opportunities for further growth.

Minister Creed commented: “Government-to-Government meetings in Japan will focus on furthering Ireland’s application for market access for sheepmeat, as well as exploring the opportunities for both countries arising from the comprehensive Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (JEEPA).

2019 is a particularly important year for the Irish-Japanese relationship, with thousands of Irish rugby supporters visiting the country for the Rugby World Cup in the autumn.

Republic of Korea

According to a statement from the Department of Agriculture, the Republic of Korea is already a “significant importer” of Irish produce with exports in 2018 amounting to €36 million. Pigmeat and fish were the main export categories.

Minister Creed said: ‘‘I want to further develop Ireland’s profile as a producer of safe quality food for the valuable Korean market.

“Government-to-Government meetings will focus on progressing the next steps in achieving market access for beef and poultry meat,” the minister concluded.

Bord Bia

Speaking in advance of the visit, Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy said: “We are increasing Bord Bia’s resources in Japan and South Korea to leverage opportunities for Irish exporters and producers to build their market share.

Our market and consumer insights convinces us that sustainably produced Irish food is well positioned to leverage the growing customer appreciation here of the provenance of food and sustainable production.

“This trade mission will give us the chance to introduce our unique and sustainably produced food offering to the highest levels of the food industry in both countries.

“This week, we have devised a combination of insight-led itineraries and strategic buyer engagement opportunities that will support Irish food and drink companies in their efforts to deepen existing key trade relationships and to create new business opportunities.”