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Coveney Broadens Diplomatic Presence to Emerging Markets in China and Russia

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD has announced his intention to establish two new Agriculture Attaché posts in the Irish Embassies in Beijing and Moscow.

These two new positions reflect the importance which Ireland attaches to the growing trade and maturing diplomatic relationships with China and Russia and will further assist Irish food, drinks, ingredients, genomics, feed and equine sectors in their efforts at building trading relationships in these two countries. These diplomatic posts will be focused on maintaining and developing key strategic relationships at government and industry levels, facilitating trade and market access, in association with Bord Bia, and developing other key relationships with government, industry, educational and research institutes. The Attachés will also help build on the work of the Joint Economic Councils between Ireland and both China and Russia, working with Bord Bia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Enterprise Ireland.

Welcoming these new postings, Minister Coveney said: “My Department’s strategic focus on emerging markets and in particular the Chinese and Russian markets, is in line with the industry strategy outlined in Food Harvest 2020.  We are actively seeking out and facilitating new trade opportunities in emerging export markets in light of the ambitious growth planned in production in the Irish meat, dairy, seafood and beverages sectors over the coming years. Ireland expects to increase its exports of food and beverages by 25% to €12billion by 2020 and is already on target in 2012, with exports of food and beverages reaching €9billion for the first time ever”.

Minister Coveney added that “We have seen an exponential rise in our exports of agri food and related products to China.  In the two years from 2010 to 2012, our agri-food exports to China increased by over 90%, reaching a figure €323m. Our exports to Russia have also risen significantly, increasing 41% from 2010 to €108m in 2012”.

The projected increase in world population to 9 billion in 2050 and the growing demand for food and food security worldwide means that Ireland, which produces ten times what it requires, is strategically placed to benefit from this growing demand for high quality foods, with the strictest of food safety controls.  The Minister said “We cannot underestimate the importance of the work which our diplomatic staff and the staff of Bord Bia undertake abroad. In facilitating growth in our exports to these countries and in maintaining Ireland’s international reputation as a source of natural high quality food drinks and ingredients, they are contributing to generating foreign earnings and maintaining jobs in Ireland”.

These Attaché posts have been established following an internal review of resources within the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, and will complement the existing diplomatic and Irish agency staff in both China and Russia and the additional resources recently allocated to Bord Bia in Asia and Germany. They will also augment the diplomatic presence of Agriculture Attachés based in Washington, Brussels, Geneva, London, Paris, Rome and Berlin who actively promote Irish interests in the food and beverages sector. It is also in line with Government policy which prioritises these markets and the targeting of state resources towards these markets.

Date Released: 27 March 2013