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Minister Smith welcomes the resumption of Trade in Live Cattle and Beef to Morocco and in Sheep Meat to Tunisia

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today welcomed the re-¿opening of the Moroccan market to Irish beef and live cattle.  This market has been closed to Ireland for almost a decade and a half and its reopening follows a successful visit here by a delegation of senior Moroccan veterinarians last March.

The Minister explained that a certificate, which allows the export of live cattle from Ireland to Morocco was agreed by both countries last month and a Veterinary Health Certificate for the export of Irish beef to Morocco was ratified this week.  Irish beef from animals aged under 48 months will now be allowed into Morocco without BSE testing and beef from animals over 48 months, which have tested negative for BSE, will also be approved.  This is the same testing regime, which applies to beef exports destined for the EU.

The Minister also announced that following the reopening of the Tunisian market to Irish beef in April, a veterinary health certificate has now been agreed which will permit the export of sheep meat from Ireland to Tunisia.

Minister Smith pointed out that the resumption of trade with these two North African countries was the result of intensive market access work by his Department, Bord Bia and the Department of Foreign Affairs and would hopefully provide new outlets for Irish cattle, beef and sheep meat. It was a significant and tangible recognition by these two countries of the high standards of food safety, which apply in Ireland.  The Minister pointed out that this development builds on the reopening of several other markets in the past year including the Chinese and Russian markets for pigmeat, the UAE market for beef and South Korean market for breeding pigs.  In conclusion, the Minister stressed "We cannot underestimate the importance of the food sector to the Irish economy and I remain committed to ensuring that Irish exporters will have access to as many global markets as possible. My Department and I, together with Bord Bia and the Department of Foreign Affairs, will continue to actively work together in order to make this goal a reality".

Date Released: 22 July 2010