The US Agricultural Secretary, Tom Vilsack, will be in Ireland tomorrow as part of EU-US discussions on the role of agriculture between the two trading blocks. The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney is due to visit the US next week, as part of a ministerial mission.

Vilsack is also visiting Brussels, Luxembourg and Paris during his visit and will be discussing the possibility of an expansion of agricultural trade. He will visit a farm in Ireland as part of his visit tomorrow.

According to Vilsack, the EU is the world’s largest importer of food and agricultural products. “But despite the continued growth of this market, US market share is shrinking because US producers and exporters continue to face numerous trade barriers.”

He said current negotiations would offer both sides an opportunity to address these barriers. The US has seen record agricultural exports in recent years. “The agricultural sectors in both the US and the EU stand to benefit from a strong T-TIP agreement. Reducing barriers to trade in the agreement will be especially beneficial to the small and medium-sized businesses that are the backbone of our respective economies.”

In Brussels, he will meet the EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos, EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger, and EU Parliament Agriculture Committee Chairman Paolo de Castro as well as addressing european agricultural ministers.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney is due to visit the US next week as part of a ministerial mission to the US.