Following negotiations, Ireland now has unrestricted beef access to Japan, as well as agreement in principle on sheepmeat access. It has also moved on the process for gaining access to the Korean market.
Minister Creed said: “Working relationships with the Korean authorities are excellent, thanks to ongoing engagement by the Irish Embassy in Seoul and my own department. On beef access, Ireland is now at step five of an eight-step process in the Republic of Korea, and a vote in the Korean Parliament will be required before we can proceed to the next step. I have used the opportunity of this meeting with Vice-Minister Lee, and a technical meeting between my officials and the Ministry for Food and Drug Safety (MFDS), to advance the case for Irish beef access and to clarify the issues involved.”
This success has led to the Irish Government increasing its presence in the region. “As well as opening Bord Bía’s new Tokyo office, I was able to announce that the first-ever agricultural attaché will be assigned by my department to the Tokyo embassy this autumn,” added Creed. “This investment in Team Ireland in Japan will support market development in line with our Food Wise 2025 strategy.”
Tara McCarthy, CEO of Irish food organisation Bord Bía, added: “Throughout the week, at more than 13 different events, targeted Japanese and Korean customers showed a strong interest in Ireland’s food offering, particularly in the industry’s approach to sustainability through the Origin Green programme. Our industry seminars in Tokyo and Seoul provided the ideal backdrop to showcase to key food importers, wholesalers, buyers and media how the Irish industry can work with them in responding to consumer demands for quality, safe and sustainably produced food.
“The high level of engagement between Ireland’s exporters and buyers is encouraging, and assures me that these opportunities will multiply as these economies grow, and their awareness of Ireland as a source of quality food and drinks increases in parallel to our market access.”