Calls to sort 'banking issue' after Iran beef deal

Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan. Photo: Doug O'Connor

Louise Hogan and Niall O'Connor

Irish beef along with steaks from across the EU may soon be destined for Iran following a new export deal, it has emerged.

Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said significant progress had been made towards facilitating exports of beef from the EU to Iran in the short term.

Mr Hogan said it was expected the new arrangements would be in place early in 2018.

However, EU sources last night accepted the Central Bank in Dublin must play a role in facilitating Irish exporters in engaging in financial transactions with Iran, the Middle East's second largest economy.

Both AIB and Bank of Ireland currently have restrictions in place - which makes trading extremely difficult.

"The banking issue needs to be addressed urgently now that a deal has been struck. That's for the Central Bank to sort," an EU source said last night.

Ireland has been working to seek new markets for its €2.4bn beef trade with a surge in numbers of cattle on the ground due to the rise in the dairy herd post-quota and with fears over the impact Brexit may have on the valuable UK trade.

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed, who is currently leading a trade mission of 25 dairy and meat companies to Japan and South Korea, has pointed out the importance of new markets in light of Brexit.

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On the latest deal with Iran, Mr Hogan said "significant progress" had been made following meetings with the Iranian ministers for agriculture and health.

Irish Independent

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