France will import 11% less beef and veal in 2015, according to reports, due to increased beef production, but it won’t affect Irish beef exports, Bord Bia has said.

Bernadette Byrne, Meat Marketing Specialist for France, Belgium and Luxembourg at Bord Bia said the expected reduction in French imports is not of particular concern to the industry as Irish companies will continue to maximise their position by selling into markets that provide the highest sustainable returns to Irish beef producers.

“In spite of a more difficult economic trading environment coupled with declining imports over the last three years, Irish beef exports to France have continued to maintain their market share.

“Ireland exports 50,000 of beef to France annually representing a 19.5% share of the import market. However, we can expect some decline in the volume of Irish beef to France in 2015 on the back of an estimated 10% decline in Irish beef production.”

She said that Continental Europe will continue to be an important region and that the prospects for the EU beef market in 2015 point to some tentative improvement as lower supplies combined with a more stable demand for beef are anticipated.

“Output is likely to increase in France as mentioned, but also Spain, the Netherlands, and Belgium, however, this will be offset by lower production in Germany, Italy, the UK and Ireland.”

According to Eblex, it is forecast by the Institut de l’elevage as France has a deficit in cow beef, such developments inevitably have implications for supplying countries.

In view of the production rise, the Institut is forecasting an 11% decline in beef and veal imports in 2015 to their lowest level since 2003. Cow beef is estimated to account for more than 90% of beef imports.