'No deals expected to be made on current trade mission to south-east Asia'- Bord Bia CEO
Building awareness of Ireland will be one of the biggest challenges Irish exporters face when looking to increase exports to south east Asia, Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy has said.
Ms McCarthy is currently leading a trade mission to Indonesia and Malaysia with the aim of increasing Irish exports to both regions and understanding the marketplace there.
Ms McCarthy told FarmIreland that awareness of Ireland is "very low" and that unlike previous trade missions she doesn’t expect deals to be done this week and that instead focus will be placed on networking.
“Normally there’s a lot of contact before making a deal. Nobody walks up and signs straight away on the dotted line, so I wouldn’t expect announcements straight away but I would within the next 18 months,” she said.
“Awareness of Ireland is very low, they have no context of us. During a market seminar we are hosting on Wednesday we will explain what we are about which will help give context and build trust in to Ireland as a supply base.”
At present Indonesia is only 40pc self-sufficient in dairy, while Malaysia is only 5pc self-sufficient, which according to Bord Bia this means the two regions offer significant trade opportunities for Ireland.
Both Indonesia and Malaysia have been identified as offering potential for growth, as the growing wealth and middle class status of both nations also suggest that Ireland can increase its milk and dairy supplies with Australia and New Zealand currently leading the charge in dairy exports to the region.
Indonesia is set to remain a major importer of dairy, currently it is 23pc self-sufficient in milk, with a government target is to reach 42pc by 2021.
There is no cheddar produced locally and only very limited WMP and mozzarella and it is the world’s no 12 whole milk powder importer, importing 51,000m tonnes in 2016, a 5pc over five years. It is also the world’s no 15 cheddar importer, at 12,000m tonnes, an 11pc over five years.
EU suppliers face only a 5pc tariff in competing with the tariff-free access Australia and New Zealand enjoys.
Over the next five days Bord Bia and the Minister of Agriculture will lead meetings with key food and business people in Indonesia and Malaysia and will travel to a trade show in Shanghai next week to promote Irish products.
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