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Minister Coughlan continues drive to open markets For Irish beef in South East Asia

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., said today that following recent positive contacts with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and South Africa, she has now launched an initiative to open markets for beef in South East Asia. The Minister said that she has authorised a visit this week by a senior delegation from her Department and Bord Bia to visit Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore as part of a renewed drive to ensure full access for Irish beef to these markets. The delegation also includes participation from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Minister Coughlan said that while exports of Irish beef are now predominantly to EU markets, she emphasised the importance of access to all potential markets for Irish beef.

"Irish beef is of the highest quality and produced to the highest food safety standards and as such meets the demands of the most discerning of markets."

Minister Coughlan added that the market access group which she recently established and which is chaired by her Department is working to ensure that any remaining barriers to international trade in beef are removed. This week's visit is part of a programme to increase awareness of Irish beef health controls in South East Asia. As well as discussions with the relevant Ministries and control agencies the delegation will participate in presentations to trade interests in the various countries.

3 September, 2007

Note for Editors

Indonesia imported almost 25,000 tonnes of Irish beef (then valued at about €33m.) prior to the European BSE scare in 2000 while trade to Philippines had increased to over 12,000 tonnes by 1999.

Date Released: 03 September 2007