Farm Ireland

Monday 19 February 2018

Creed seeks to 'exploit' US and Chinese markets to Brexit proof

The cheapest pasteurised milk in China costs €3.50 per litre.
The cheapest pasteurised milk in China costs €3.50 per litre.

Claire Fox

Exploiting US and Chinese markets is a key way for the Irish agriculture and food sector to remain Brexit proof, according to Minister Michael Creed.

Speaking at a Brexit Discussion at the National Ploughing Championships  Minister Creed told an audience of agriculture and food stakeholders that Ireland must consider increasing their presence in the US.

“It’s a market access for our beef and we’ll work with whatever adminstration is there as that is our obligation. There’s a huge market there for our food and it’s the biggest market out there and Brexit proof,” he said.

Minister Creed also stressed that the department were doing all they could to get Irish beef into the Chinese market and were waiting for results from a Chinese audit to get the all clear.

“China has a very important potential for a beef market. We’re responding to what the Chinese asks are, and I’m satisfied that all the asks that have come to us so far we have been able to meet to satisfaction.”

 “But at the moment we are waiting for China to come back to us, with a result from their audit.”

“We’re in every market, 180 markets across the world and I can’t see why the standard of our product won’t meet Chinese guidelines.”

CEO of Bord Bia, Tara McCarthy was on the same page regarding the US and added that the less volatile dollar made the US market even more attractive to the Irish agri-food sector.

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“There’s less volatility with dollar than there is with sterling at the moment. It’s a market worth over €1 billion market to Ireland and one we are constantly targeting. New craft whiskies and distilleries are huge over there. Kerrygold have been in there for 20 or 30 years. It gives us an opportunity to tell our Irish story over there,” she said.

She added that while they won’t be walking away from the UK market, she thinks that market diversification is key to reduce dependency on the UK.

“We are in the dark in many ways but from our perspective we are trying to do the right thing by the food industry and that’s diversification. It’s not by walking away from the UK market, you don’t  walk away from your most profitable market but you do decrease your dependency on it.”

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