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Coveney Showcases Irish Agriculture to Visiting US Agriculture Secretary

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD today welcomed the US Secretary for Agriculture, Tom Vilsack to Ireland.  They discussed the proposed trade and investment partnership agreement (TTIP) between the EU and the US. The Minister also raised the question of access for Irish meats to the US market. The Secretary was given a tour of a beef farm and a dairy farm in north Kildare where the Minister showcased the best in sustainable, carbon-efficient Irish livestock production.

Minister Coveney thanked the US Secretary for the moves currently underway to allow access for Irish beef in the US. “We look forward to the inspection visit at the end of the month and we hope it will not be long before Irish beef is on supermarket shelves in the US. We are not looking to take on US meat producers directly but we see the US as a potentially important and valuable niche market”

The Minister said “Ireland is very supportive of concluding a trade agreement with the US. An agreement between the world’s two major trading blocs has the potential to increase growth and grow jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. My main purpose at our meeting this morning was to gain a clearer understanding of the US position in these negotiations, what its priority agriculture issues are – both defensive and offensive.  Of course, I also made Ireland’s views very clear, identified what our priority issues are and how we would like to see the process end”.

The Minister said that Ireland wanted to see real market openings for our dairy products in the United States.  We were also looking for action to remove some of the regulatory barriers that hinder our exports. “Of course, I also made clear the sensitivities we have when it comes to beef quotas”, said the Minister.  “And we will be seeking in the negotiations to make sure that these sensitivities are reflected in the size and composition of any quota offered by the EU to the US”. 

Discussions also focussed on the wider issue of food security and climate change and the Secretary and Minister agreed that the EU and the US have a shared responsibility to address the challenges ahead to feed a growing world population against a background of diminishing resources.

“I took the opportunity to outline Ireland’s groundbreaking work in sustainable farming”, the Minister said, “and I was able to demonstrate this at a practical level in the two farms visited subsequently “.

 Added 19.06.14Added 19.06.14

‌Above and right: Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD with US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack



Below: US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack meets Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TC and An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD

Added 19.06.14

View Press Release as a PDF:  DAFMPR 85/2014 (pdf 618Kb) 


Date Released: 19 June 2014