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Minister Smith announces agreement on conditions for Irish Beef Exports to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today announced agreement on export conditions for Irish beef going to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Agreement in principle to resume exports was reached in October 2007 and was subject to the approval of plants and export conditions. This was followed by a visit by a veterinary delegation from Saudi Arabia, in March this year, to inspect plants and discuss the terms under which exports could take place. In the meantime there have been related contacts and discussions between the two countries.

The agreement paves the way for the resumption of beef exports to this important and valuable market. The Saudi Arabian market was closed to Irish beef following the disclosure of BSE in Europe in 2000. Exports in the previous year amounted to 25,000 tonnes, valued at some €33m.

The terms of the agreement allow for the export of boneless beef from animals under 30 months.

The Minister said this positive news was a further affirmation of the very high food safety standards operated in Ireland and the resultant international confidence in our product.

Date Released: 02 July 2008