Major agri-food trade mission hopes to boost exports to US and Mexico

Dublin Port
Dublin Port
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed will lead a delegation which includes State agencies and Irish food industry representatives, on a week-long trade mission to the USA and Mexico.

The visit begins in Washington this weekend and continues through Maryland, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Chicago and Mexico City. The trade mission comprises approximately 30 separate events and engagements. 

In advance of the visit, Minister Creed stressed the importance of providing industry with further opportunities to grow in international markets, both by developing export opportunities in existing markets and by opening new markets.

“This trade mission is a great opportunity to strengthen our existing market presence in the United States, to deepen the existing footprint of the Irish food sector in Mexico, and establish a platform to develop new market opportunities for Irish beef and pigmeat there.

It will also allow us crucial opportunities to meet representatives of the new US administration, and to gain a better understanding of their key policy priorities in the agri food sector. It will also allow us to engage with political counterparts in Mexico as we endeavour to forge new opportunities for Irish food companies,” he said.

Minister Creed has already had a long and constructive telephone conversation with Mr. Sonny Perdue, the newly appointed US Secretary of State for Agriculture.

This initial contact will be followed up during the trade mission by meetings with other key influencers in the new US Administration, including Mr Ray Starling, Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture and Trade, as well as senior officials in the US Department of Agriculture and the US Trade Representation. 

The Minister will also meet with Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. 

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The delegation will also have engagements with key meat, dairy, beverage and agri-industry representatives to gain a better understanding of how the sectors operate and to showcase the Irish dairy, meat and beverage offering.  The United States is a major importer of Irish agri food products which, in 2016, were valued at more than €1 billion.

Speaking before leaving on the trade Mission Tara McCarthy CEO of Bord Bia said next week will mark the fifth anniversary of the launch of Origin Green and we will demonstrate to US food and beverage customers how partnering with Origin Green verified members can provide them with competitive yet differentiated Irish products through the high quality, sustainably produced food and drink increasingly demanded by their consumers.

"We will also be seeking approval from the USDA for our eight marketing claims for Irish beef which were audited by the USDA last week. Approval would allow us and our customers to integrate the claims within our US strategy and use the USDA seal on products and in store.”

In Mexico, Minister Creed’s itinerary will include meetings with the Mexican Secretary (Minister) for Agriculture (SAGARPA), Jose Eduardo Calzada Rovirosa and with Sub Secretary (Vice Minister) for Trade, Juan Carlos Baker Pineda.

The focus will be on trade development opportunities. Referring to this leg of the visit, Minister Creed said Mexico is a significant importer of agri food products and is a new and developing market where we need to establish relationships and links.

"Meetings with political counterparts, as well as local experts in the pigmeat and beef industries, will help us to better understand the market and to align our food offering with the demands of the Mexican market.”

Mexico is already Ireland’s 14th biggest bilateral trading partner worldwide and Ireland’s biggest trading partner in Latin America. In particular, Mexico was the 13th largest destination for Irish dairy exports in 2016 with total exports of around €52.6 million or 14,500 tonnes. However, there is potential for significant growth in the volume and value of Irish exports. 

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