US officials are set to arrive in Ireland on June 30 to carry out final inspections on Irish beef processing plants which would allow Irish beef be exported to the US.

Speaking on Newstalk this morning form the US, the minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney stated that “the job has been done on this and I am confident that the inspectors will be happy.”

He said: “No beef from any other EU country has access to the US due to legacy BSE issues. We will be the first country to avoid that ban. We look forward to the inspection visit at the end of the month and we hope it will not be long before Irish beef is on supermarket shelves in the US.”

The Minister said that Irish beef will not be looking to take on US meat producers directly, but it sees the US as a potentially important and valuable niche market. He said: “It presents a great opportunity for Irish beef particularly the premium market for grass fed beef.”

He added: “The vast majority of US beef is domestically produced it is an enormous producer of beef and is looking to export to China, Japan and Korea. Just as we are. The US beef herd is smaller now than any time since 1952. There is a lot of caution in the US due to feed costs.”

Minister Coveney also said: “It is important to say that this negotiation is different to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) issue which is looking to create common trading platform between the US and EU.