Brexit-proof beef deal secured with Saudi Arabian government
An agreement on enhanced access for Irish beef to Saudi Arabia has been announced as a major agri-food trade mission to the Gulf region continues.
The agreement will make a difference to Irish companies wishing to export beef to Saudi Arabia, by adding processed, cooked, minced and bone-in beef to the products that can be exported to Saudi Arabia.
The deal was brokered in a bid to increase export opportunities for farmers here in the wake of the UK's exit from Europe.
Ireland shipped 526 million tonnes of beef in 2016, worth €2.4bn. Of this, 234,000t went to Britain and a further 31,000t to Northern Ireland, which combined represents 265,000t of our total exports, or just over half. Overall, the UK and EU accounted for 91pc of Irish beef and offal exports in 2016.
The agreement with Saudi Arabia follows high level discussions between Agriculture Minister Michael Creed and Prof Dr Hisham Saad Aljadhey, the Executive President of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA), which is the competent authority in Saudi Arabia for market access matters.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Creed said the agreement was a testament to the high regard in which Irish beef is held in the country and marks the culmination of intensive work by his department, the Irish Embassy in Riyadh and the industry over recent months.
"Last year Ireland exported some €2.4bn worth of beef to around 70 countries," he said.