Creed announces beef and pork access to Ukraine

04 April 2019

peaking at the 21st meeting of the Food Wise 2025 High Level Implementation Committee (HLIC), Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D,  today announced the opening of the Ukrainian market for Irish beef and pork;

 “This agreement follows on from bilateral negotiations between my Department and the Ukrainian authorities, with the assistance of the Irish Embassy in Prague. The opening of this new market is a reflection of the confidence the Ukrainian authorities have in the high standards of food safety and the rigorous controls in Ireland. It marks another important step in the development of Ireland’s agri-food links with Ukraine.

Details on these new arrangements for trading with the Ukraine are being added to the department’s market access portal and a trader notice will issue for processors and exporters shortly.

The Minister also led  discussions on the preparations of the department and relevant State Agencies for Brexit,  on the development of new markets for agri food products, and on the development of new opportunities for adding value to agri food production,  through initiatives in the bioeconomy. 

The development of new market opportunities for the Irish agri food sector is one of the key themes of Food Wise 2025 and is a central part of Ireland’s Brexit mitigation strategy. Through the oversight structures established under Food Wise, the Minister coordinates the work of the Department and agencies,  to ensure that Irish food and drink exports have access to key markets, and that products are targeted at the right markets and the right segments within these markets.  Referring to these efforts, Minister Creed said:

 “The global food market presents significant growth opportunities for the Irish agri-food sector. This is vitally important in the context of Brexit. This is why my Department and its agencies are focussing  significant time and resources on opening new markets for Irish exporters.”

In 2018, Minister Creed led trade missions to Turkey, US & Canada, China and Malaysia & Indonesia. One of the highlights of that year was the market access secured for Irish beef to China.  Over 1,400 tonnes of Irish beef landed in China in 2018 and there is significant potential for increasing these volumes. The Department also launched an online Market Access Export Information Portal, which is a one-stop-shop for exporters to get detailed market access and export information on open agri-food markets around the world.

The Minister also reflected on his department’s trade agenda for 2019. In March, Minister Creed led a trade mission to Turkey, focused on the live trade.  Further missions are planned to China in May, to Japan & South Korea in June and to Algeria & Egypt in November. The Minister stated:

 “Looking forward, market and trade insights suggest that the global demand for Irish food and drink will remain positive in 2019. I am encouraged by the resilience demonstrated by the Irish agri-food sector in 2018 in the face of significant weather events and with the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit. I am confident that this resilience will continue throughout 2019. In the meantime we will be doing everything we can to promote Irish food in international markets.  ”

Today’s meeting coincided with the publication by the Department of updated trade statistics for the agri-food sector in 2018.  Minister Creed stated; “The agri-food sector is Ireland’s most important indigenous industry, playing a vital role in Ireland’s economy. Irish food and drink was exported to over 180 markets worldwide in 2018. The sector employs 173,000 people, representing almost 8% of employment, and is particularly important in rural and coastal areas. The volume of agri-food products exported in 2018 continued to grow for the ninth year in a row, up 3.7% on 2017. The value of agri-food exports for 2018 was €13.7 billion, down slightly from a record €13.8bn in 2017.  The slight reduction in value of 1.3% in 2018 was due to a combination of factors including global price volatility”. 

The Committee also considered the potential linkages between the agri-food sector and the bio-economy. The objective of this work is to develop business opportunities for farm and other food enterprises, for example by developing  value streams for agri food by products.  Innovation in this area has the potential to improve the viability of farms and other businesses along the supply chain, and contribute positively to Ireland’s climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. Referring to Government Policy in this area the Minister said:

“I have viewed first-hand the potential of the Irish bio-economy, for example  with the development of an advanced biorefinery by Glanbia in Lisheen, Co Tipperary. This project will take by products from the dairy sector, and add value by turning them into lactic acid that can be converted into things like biodegradable plastics, bio based fertilisers and other minerals. It is a perfect example of the strong synergies between our efforts to improve profitability in the sector and to take care of our planet for future generations. The report I received today highlights Government efforts  to address the challenges and raise awareness of the opportunities in this area. The development of a strong bio-economy is now becoming a key feature in Government and EU policy and offers Ireland significant climate action, industrial and primary production opportunities.”

Note for editors

Opening of the Ukraine Market

Ireland hosted a visit from Ukrainian officials in June 2018, at which details on the Department’s controls and its traceability system (AIM) were presented to the officials, which helped to progress negotiations.  Ireland’s Ambassador to Ukraine also met the Head of the SSUFCP, Dr Volodymyr Lapa, in mid-November 2018 to discuss the veterinary health certificates.

The market is now being opened to beef and pork and pork products. DAFM understands that offals are covered under the terms of the certificates.

Irish agri-food exports to Ukraine amounted to €10.5 million in 2018 of which around two thirds is accounted for by fish exports. Ireland imported around €48 million worth of agri-food products from the Ukraine, 90% of which is accounted for by Cereals and cereal preparations. 

The Irish Embassy in Prague is currently accredited to Ukraine but DFAT plans to open an Embassy in Kiev before the end of 2020 as part of the Global Ireland 2025 strategy.

The market access web portal launched as part of the Action Plan on Market Access and exports is available at


Agri-food Trade Statistics

Following a recent revision of agri-food trade statistics by the CSO:

  • The value of agri-food exports was €13.7 billion, down slightly from a record €13.8 billion in 2017.  The volume of agri-food products exported in 2018 continued to grow for the ninth year in a row, up 3.7% on 2017.
  • Dairy produce continues to be Ireland’s largest agri-food export with a value of €4.6 billion, down almost 2% on 2017. Beef exports are a strong second at €2.4 billion, up 1%. Exports of beverages, including whiskey, are worth €1.4 billion, up 6% on the previous year.
  • While the overall export value is down slightly in 2018 a number of products have shown strong growth such as: natural butter exports to Netherlands, up 71% to €301 million, and USA, up 85% to €157 million; whiskey to USA, up 13% to €385 million and frozen bovine boneless meat to Great Britain, up 45% to €160 million.
  • The value of Prepared Consumer Food exports was €2.6 billion in 2018. Meat preparations accounted for just over €1 billion up almost 7% on 2017. Chocolate –based products also performed well with growth of 6% to reach export value of €272 million.
  • The UK remains our strongest trading partner with exports of €5.6 billion in 2018 followed by Netherlands, United States, France and China as the top five export markets.

Details of agri-food trade in 2018 are included in our Trade Factsheet 2018 available on our website at

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and the Central Statistics Office (CSO) have identified and agreed a number of agri-food categories in the CSO’s trade statistics. These categories include traditional food products such as beef, dairy and beverages; along with non-edible items such as animal foodstuffs, forestry, and animal hides and skins.

During 2018 the DAFM undertook an exercise examining the way in which Agri-food sector products were classified.  Products and Raw goods are categorised using combined nomenclature codes (CN codes), a European harmonised system used to classify goods for customs and trade purposes.  As a result of this statistical exercise, a number of new and additional unique CN codes were added to the Agri-food sector, the majority of which can be attributed to forestry and wood based products. Waste paper, which was traditionally included under forestry products, was excluded from agri-food estimates in the revised CN codes. This revision added about €250 million to the value of exports with the bulk of the additional value accounted for by forestry and wood based products.

Two new Agri-food sector categories namely Wood Based Produce and Fruit & Vegetable Based Produce were added, bringing the total number of agri-food categories to 26. These new categories were created to provide more delineation between primary and secondary agri-food products and to better represent industry.

The exercise ensured that there is an up to date and detailed statistical representation of Ireland’s Agri-food sector. These new codes were applied to previous years and now updated trade statistics are available from 2009-2018.

Brexit information is available at

Please note that this Press release was amended on 24 April to reflect a revision of trade statistics by the CSO.


 April hlic



Original Press Release, click here.