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02 February 2009: Minister Smith welcomes resumption of Irish port trade to South Africa

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD today welcomed confirmation from the South African Department of Agriculture that they have decided to lift trade restrictions on the import of pork and pork products from Ireland.Minister Smith said that this decision was further vindication of the prompt and decisive action of the Irish authorities following the confirmed presence of dioxins in Irish pork in early December, a fact acknowledged by the South African authorities.

The Minister said that while the South African market was relatively small, at approximately €1 million in 2007, it was an important step in restoring confidence in important international markets and follows confirmation by the Japanese authorities that normal arrangements for the importation of Irish pigmeat were continuing.

Minister Smith said that the resumption of the South African trade and the continuation of the Japanese trade was "a reflection of the work of my Department, Bord Bia and our embassies in providing reassurance about the quality and safety of Irish pigmeat¿ and said that he would continue to work closely with the agencies and ¿would be happy to travel to any markets with which we were having continuing difficulties if that would be helpful in restoring confidence and resuming trade."

02 February 2009

Date Released: 02 February 2009