An agreement has been reached between Ireland and Vietnam to allow for the importation of fresh and frozen pork meat from Ireland.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney has welcomed the agreement which was reached with the veterinary authorities in Vietnam.

According to the Minister this agreement provides the Irish pigmeat sector with a vital foothold in this key market. “Vietnam is an important market in South East Asia with a growing population and there are good prospects for Irish meat exports both in the short and long term. I am hopeful that the decision of the Vietnamese authorities will also have a positive effect on our efforts to gain access to other markets in the region.”

He also said that the announcement marks an important measure of success in our strategy to open third country markets for Irish food. “Just as with the agreement reached with the Philippines last month, it is important that Irish industry has alternative outlets for its produce, along with the real potential for expansion. In circumstances where there have been difficulties with the Russian market since the start of the year, it is vital that Irish companies have access to as many markets worldwide as possible.

“My Department is of course continuing to work closely with European partners to try to restore the trade in pigmeat with Russia. In the meantime we will continue to prioritise the opening of new third country markets for Irish agri food products, working with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Bord Bia to provide new market opportunities for Irish companies.”

Access to the Vietnamese market has been identified as a priority target by the Irish pigmeat industry. The Minister confirmed that this agreement was concluded after a concerted technical and diplomatic effort by his department, in conjunction with the Irish Embassy in Vietnam and the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the National Agro-Forestry Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD). The agreement means that a total of five Irish pig processing establishments have been accredited to produce pork for export to Vietnam, while another establishment has been approved for cutting. A veterinary health certificates has also been agreed.