Egypt on cusp of re-opening market for Irish beef
Egypt moved a step closer to re-opening its market to Irish beef exports this week, with a delegation of veterinary inspectors visiting factories here.
A health certificate for Irish beef is in the process of being issued by the Egyptian authorities which will clear the way for exports to resume to the Middle Eastern country.
The Egyptian veterinary team is expected to visit several beef plants during their time here.
While the re-opening of the Egyptian market would be a major boost for the beef sector, one industry source commented that the "optics" of the move would be more important than the practicalities.
He said most factories had agreed contracts with Irish, British and Continental outlets, and would be reluctant to move away from these.
Cattle numbers were also a factor, he said. Most plants were struggling to source sufficient numbers to supply existing contracts.
He accepted that having Egypt as another export option was a positive development but pointed out that factories and live shippers may be slow to do business there because of the recent political turmoil.
Letters of credit from Egyptian banks might not be accepted by Irish financial institutions, and prospective Egyptian importers may need European credit arrangements to secure contracts.