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Minister Smith Visits United States to Promote Development of Irish Food Sector

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is travelling to the United States this weekend with Enterprise Ireland to promote Ireland's Food Investment and Innovation Strategy. During his visit, Minister Smith will meet several business leaders from a wide range of Irish and US food companies, including US companies with a significant presence in Ireland.

Minister Smith said that "given the significance of the agri-food and drink sector to the Irish economy, both in terms of exports and employment, this is a very valuable opportunity to impress upon US business leaders the priority that the Irish Government and Enterprise Ireland place on the development of the Irish food sector while, at the same time, pointing out to them the benefits of collaborating with Irish food companies, including access to leading edge food science and technology research in Ireland".

The Minister also said that it was "critically important that every opportunity is taken to protect existing jobs and to explore opportunities for increased investment and job creation". Minister Smith said that he was anxious also to provide whatever assistance he could to Irish food companies to further develop their opportunities in the US and would be meeting with individual Irish companies, including Glanbia and Kerry Foods, as well as the Irish Dairy Board, Bord Bia and Enterprise Ireland.

Minister Smith said that Ireland had already proven a very successful and attractive location for and had developed a strong cluster of food ingredients and infant nutritional companies through the presence of various multi-national food companies. Minister Smith also described Irish food research institutes as having "global industry/ academic links and are acknowledged experts in this important field". The Minister said that the Food Investment and Innovation Strategy would enhance and support an increasing level of industry collaboration with such Irish food research institutes.

Date Released: 08 October 2007