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Minister Coveney Welcomes the re-opening of Lebanese Market to Irish Beef, Sheepmeat and Cooked Meats

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today welcomed the decision of the Lebanese authorities to fully re-open its market to Irish beef, sheepmeat and cooked meats.

Minister Coveney said that this successful agreement followed sustained efforts over a number of years by his Department and the Embassy of Ireland in Cairo.

The Minister commented “this market will provide another valuable outlet for Irish products and will further enhance Ireland`s reputation as a source of high quality sustainably produced food.  It follows the recent re-opening of other markets notably Japan during my recent visit with the Taoiseach there. These market openings are key to growing Irish exports as seen in last week’s Bord Bia figures for 2013 as well as helping achieve the targets set out in the Food Harvest 2020 Strategy.

Irish beef exports showed strong growth in 2013, with volumes increasing by 4% and value increasing by 10% to reach €2.1 billion. Sheepmeat exports also grew in 2013, with volumes increasing by 3% and value increasing by 4% to reach €220 million.

The Minister commented that “the Lebanese market is one of huge potential for Irish exporters as they currently import 60% of beef into a domestic market worth €100m annually. I am confident that Irish exporters can regain their slice of that market and grow it further over time. Veterinary health certificates have been agreed between the Lebanese and Irish authorities, ensuring that trade can commence immediately”, the Minister said

Note for Editors

  • The Lebanese authorities banned the importation of live cattle and beef from Ireland following the BSE crisis of late 2000/early 2001. Prior to that, exports of Irish beef to Lebanon were worth approximately €5m per annum.
  • The ban in respect of live cattle was lifted in May 2001, following high-level contacts between the Department and the Lebanese authorities, and a revised veterinary healthcertificate was negotiated in respect of live cattle. However, the agreement did not extend to beef.

Date Released: 22 January 2014