Ireland has been given the green light to export sheepmeat to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the first time.
Announcing the agreement, Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, said that the UAE had been a “priority market” for Irish sheepmeat exports as a result of its relatively wealthy population and high sheepmeat consumption.
He added that he had discussed the agreement with the UAE Minister of Economy HE Sultan Saeed Al Mansouri during his visit to the UAE in October, with negotiations completed by his Department, the Irish Embassy in UAE and the UAE authorities.
“While the bulk of Ireland’s sheepmeat is exported to the EU, there is increasing interest from the industry in exporting Irish sheepmeat to non-EU countries,” he said. “I am delighted we have succeeded in opening this market to Irish lamb and in providing Irish exporters with another potentially valuable market option.”
This latest agreement follows a decision by the UAE to lift the age restrictions on Irish beef last summer, and an agreement between the two countries on a veterinary certificate allowing for the export of Irish poultry to the UAE.
Coveney said he would continue to push for increased opportunties for Irish meat outside the EU.
“I am committed to ensuring that Irish operators have access to as many markets as possible worldwide. While, ultimately, the pattern of trade is a function of commercial choice and based on market dynamics, as a matter of principle and in close consultation with industry, I have been determined to provide Irish exporters with alternative markets when commercial opportunities arise,” he said.