Clare Senator Tony Mulcahy has described the news that Ireland has become the first EU State in 15 years to obtain beef access to the lucrative US market as “hugely positive news” for Irish agriculture.
The announcement was made by Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney today (Monday, 5 January 2014) following a successful inspection by the US authorities of Ireland’s beef production systems in July of last year.
Senator Mulcahy stated: “This breakthrough comes after two years of diplomatic efforts, which indicates how hard it is to find new markets. While a huge deal of credit must go to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for its work in obtaining US approval, I am also mindful of the many years of hard work invested by Irish beef farmers in proving their credentials as suppliers of the highest quality premium beef.”
“There is growing international recognition of the quality of beef being produced in this country as exemplified by the opening of beef trade links with Japan, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in recent years. It’s a great time to be getting into the US market, because for the first time the price of beef there is as high as the price of beef in Europe,” he concluded.
Commenting on the news, Deputy Joe Carey said:
“I warmly welcome the confirmation that the US market is now open to Irish beef. This is the culmination of two years of intensive work between Minister Simon Coveney and his US counterparts.
A decision to ban EU beef was made by the US authorities fifteen years ago in response to the outbreak of BSE. Ireland had been consistently calling for the US to lift its ban with Minister Coveney having regular discussions with Secretary of State Vilsack, citing the high demand for Irish beef around the world as proof of its quality and reliability.
Deputy Carey added: “Access to the US market presents a huge opportunity to Ireland given the sheer size of the market and the demand we know exists there for premium grass-fed beef. We now need to exploit the added advantage of being the first EU member state to gain entry to the market. The large Irish-American community needs to be put to the centre of our promotional efforts.
I understand that the Department of Agriculture and Bord Bia have been planning for this announcement for some time and will be announcing a number of initiatives in the coming weeks, including a dedicated website aimed at American consumers and buyers, highlighting the quality of Irish beef,” concluded Deputy Carey.