Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD outlined a seven point plan to increase international market access for Irish food and drink exports at the IFA Brexit event at Goffs.The plan will be implemented by the Minister’s Department with significant input from Bord Bia and Irish Embassies around the world, to help increase the footprint of our food and drink exports.
Speaking earlier Minister Creed said, “securing access for Irish products and increasing penetration in international markets is a priority. Against the background of Brexit, we need to redouble our efforts in this regard. There have been a number of significant successes in recent times and agri food exports to China, for example, have almost tripled in value to more than €700 million since 2010.”
The Minister went on to say, “We are also fortunate in that we have an excellent industry-led strategy for the growth of the sector in Food Wise 2025 which provides a clear road-map for its development. However the potential effects of a UK withdrawal from the EU mean that we must intensify our efforts further and diversify to as many international markets as we can. This is a Government priority in response to the particular threat which Brexit poses to our agri-food sector and today’s investment is a key part of this response”
The initiatives to be prioritised will include:
- Establishment of a High-Level Market Access Committee within the Department reporting directly to the Secretary General and led by an Assistant Secretary responsible for market access. This Committee will meet monthly to review progress on existing market access applications and prioritise future applications;
- The allocation of additional market access resources in the Department. Additional resources will be provided to focus specifically on market access. This will include dedicated veterinary and other expertise to target current markets of interest to Irish food exporters, and to ensure that exporters meet the conditions laid down by third countries. It will include continued support for a live export trade following on from the success in opening the Turkish and Egyptian markets last year;
- The Department will commission Bord Bia to undertake market profiling exercise for potential third-country and EU markets for Irish exports. The Minister has asked Bord Bia to undertake an exercise to identify priority markets across the food and drink categories, which can be targeted for promotion, access applications and trade missions. This exercise will provide an invaluable tool for Irish exporters and for the department and its agencies in determining the strategic priorities for agri food trade;
- An intensified programme of trade missions to promote Irish food and drink on EU and third country markets :
- Trade missions for the remainder of 2017 will focus on emerging markets in Asia, North America and Africa. Further details will follow on this aspect in due course.
- This follows, a week-long visit to the Gulf States (25 Feb -2 March)a promotional visit to Germany which coincided with St. Patrick’s day, ten Brexit Bilateral meetings and trade missions to China, Singapore and Northern Africa at the end of 2016.
- An immediate review of existing export markets in which conditions of certification present barriers to trade or additional costs for exporters. This review will be carried out in collaboration with industry and where appropriate priority markets will be visited by a high-level DAFM team to resolve outstanding issues to open the market for trade;
- Increased engagement with the European Commission on measures to encourage a common approach to resolving issues relating to market access for EU products internationally.
- The development by the Department of a new dedicated portal website which will bring together in the one location the full range of open markets and products, and the relevant conditions certification in a user-friendly manner for exporters.
Commenting on these initiatives, the Minister said “These initiatives will undoubtedly be of direct assistance to Irish food and drink exporters this year. They are entirely consistent with the Food wise 2025 strategy for the development of the Irish agri food sector, and are all the more relevant against the background of the decision of the UK to exit the European Union.. We will, of course, keep these arrangements under review, in consultation with industry, to ensure that resources are deployed to best effect and that our efforts are focussed on making real progress for business operators in priority markets.”