The View from Northern Ireland: Singapore has opened its market for receiving exports of beef products from Northern Ireland, it has been announced this afternoon.

NI Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill described it as a huge opportunity for the beef industry.

“In July this year we hosted a visit of veterinary inspectors from Singapore. Whilst here they had the opportunity to witness our production systems first hand and were very pleased with what they saw, recognising that product from the north is of the highest quality. Subsequent negotiations, which were supported by my Veterinary Service officials, have led to agreement for export of beef from the north of Ireland to Singapore. If this new opportunity is grasped by the industry this market is valued at around £1m sterling for the first year of trading, with the potential to increase to £5m sterling over the next three years,” stated minister O’Neill this afternoon.

“This good news follows the news from last month that the US have changed the regulations that restricted the importation of beef from the EU due to BSE. These two new markets represent excellent opportunities to accelerate exports, a key aim of the agri-food strategy board’s report, Going for Growth.”

The minister continued: “These new market opportunities come on foot of my recent decision to defer charges for export health certificates. In the Going for Growth strategy the meat and dairy industries identified these proposed charges as an obstacle to export-led growth that Government can do something about. I have shown my continuing commitment to supporting exports, acted on industry requests and deferred the introduction of these charges at this time. This will prevent additional financial burden on our industry.”

Concluding the Minister said: “I encourage our agri-food industry to embrace these new export opportunities. In particular the Singapore authorities have indicated that they are looking forward to the North of Ireland quickly taking advantage of this new market.”

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