Trade mission hopes for approval for Irish beef brand in lucrative US market
Minister is seeking the award of a USDA-backed marketing brand promoting Irish beef’s credentials
Ireland is hoping for a breakthrough on access to the US beef market this week, as Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed arrived in Washington on Sunday for a week-long trade mission
Officials have been working with US authorities on securing approval for a brand that would allow Irish beef products to be marketed under a USDA-approved brand on US retail shelves, a move that would significantly increase awareness of Irish beef in the lucrative US market according to agriculture officials.
The Minister is due to meet senior officials from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US trade representation as well as the chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Pat Roberts, while in Washington. Representatives of some of Ireland’s biggest meat companies are also part of the Bord Bia-backed visit.
Ireland gained access to the US beef market in 2015 after being shut out of the market over the BSE crisis, winning the right to export primal cuts, such as sirloin, rib-eye and fillet. A year later this access was widened to include minced beef - a lucrative part of the US market.
Award of a USDA-backed marketing brand, promoting Irish beef’s credentials, would further enhance opportunities for Irish beef. Despite winning access to the US market, Irish beef exports to the United States have been disappointingly low, in part because of the relatively low price for primal cuts, in part because of the dominance of domestic producers in the US beef market.
Ireland was the first EU country to gain entry to the US market after BSE, and has been seeking to increase its access to the market. In total, the United States imported more than €1 billion worth of Irish agri-food products last year.
The Minister said the trade mission was part of an overall policy of to try and diversify Ireland’s export markets in the context of Brexit.
“Building new opportunities for trade is already a central element in Ireland’s Food Wise 2025 Strategy and is all the more important against the background of Brexit,” he said.
Mexico was the 13th largest destination for Irish dairy exports in 2016 with total exports of around €52.6 million or 14,500 tonnes. Mr Creed is due to meet the Mexican Minister for Agriculture, Jose Eduardo Calzada Rovirosa during the trip to Mexico City.