Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., today launched his Department’s first Market Access Annual report, which reports on significant progress on implementation of an Action Plan on market access, published in April 2017. The report highlights the successes over the last year and a half including beef access to China, wider meat market access to Kuwait and Qatar and significant ongoing work in relation to the dairy, seafood and live animal sectors.
It provides an insight into the painstaking work at political, diplomatic and official levels which goes into achieving these successes. This work includes completing very detailed market access questionnaires, facilitating incoming audits or agreeing veterinary health certificates.
Speaking at the launch the Minister said that: “What clearly emerges from the report is the considerable work being completed by a very wide range of staff, right across my Department, whose work impacts upon market access and trade.” The report also contains a number of interesting case studies on individual companies’ experiences in new markets.
Minister Creed continued: “This enhanced focus on market access and trade is a key part of my Department’s response to the challenges posed by Brexit, and is very much in line with the market development theme under Foodwise 2025. This work has taken on an added urgency in the light of the challenge posed by Brexit. However, opening up new international markets to Irish food producers is a long term strategy and these new markets can take time to develop and grow..”
The Minister added that; “Overall, agri-food exports to countries outside the EU have increased from around €2.7 billion to €3.6 billion in the period 2014 to 2018. This represents very rapid growth of 36% in that four year timeframe.
Minister Creed also took the opportunity to announce the locations for Government Agri-Food trade missions during 2019. The Minister said that: “Trade Missions play an important role in market development, and I have been very active on this front in recent years as we strive to gain, and then develop, a presence in as many global markets as possible. This year I plan to lead Government Agri-Food trade missions to Turkey in early March, China in May, Japan and South Korea in June, and Algeria and Egypt in November.”
These trade missions will have a role both in the promotion of Irish food and drink products already available in those markets, in cooperation with Bord Bia and the Embassy network, and also in further developing relationships at political and official level. “My experience has been that such contacts have been crucial to Ireland’s efforts to gain new market access, and also, to widen and broaden our existing levels of market access” Minister Creed commented.
Welcoming today’s announcement, Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy added “Ministerial-led Trade Missions provide invaluable access and opportunities for Irish exporters who are looking to explore or enter into a new market, and from experience, these missions also help cultivate stronger trading relationships. As the industry looks to diversify and expand, Bord Bia continues to work in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to deliver targeted Trade Missions in priority markets aimed at raising the profile of, and winning international business for, Ireland’s food and drink industry. In addition to the Trade Missions, this year Bord Bia will participate at a record number of international trade shows across 14 key markets including Asia, North America, Europe and the Middle East.”
Alongside these upcoming trade missions, four additional agricultural attachés will be appointed to new posts later in 2019 located in Irish Embassies.
Minister Creed said that; “I will be expanding my Department’s global footprint. My Department currently has eight agricultural attaché posts in Embassies in the EU and across the world, including in Beijing and Washington DC. I now intend to expand this network by 50%, adding extra posts in the following key locations: Berlin, Tokyo, Seoul and Mexico. Building and developing official relationships with Competent Authorities and Agencies in these countries will be a key remit of their work and should in future help to generate further successes in our market access efforts.”
These new agriculture attaché appointments form part of the expansion of Ireland’s global footprint in the context of the Global Ireland 2025 initiative that was launched by the Taoiseach in 2018. It represents the most ambitious renewal and expansion of Ireland’s international presence ever undertaken in terms of diplomacy, culture, business, overseas aid, tourism and trade.
Attachés will be recruited on a competitive basis from suitably qualified staff within the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The Market Access Annual report is available here.