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Friday 24 November 2017

Enhanced access for Irish beef to Saudi Arabia announced

Pic Getty Images.
Pic Getty Images.
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

An agreement on enhanced access for Irish beef to Saudi Arabia has been announced as a major Irish agri-food Trade Mission to the Gulf region continues.

The agreement will make a difference to Irish companies wishing to export beef to Saudi Arabia, by adding processed, cooked, minced and bone-in beef to the products that can be exported to Saudi Arabia

It follows high level discussions between Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed and Prof. Dr Hisham Saad Aljadhey, the Executive President of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA), which is the competent authority in Saudi Arabia for market access matters.

Speaking after the meeting, Minister Creed said, he was delighted to secure today’s agreement  said it was a testament to the high regard in which Irish beef is held in the country and marks the culmination of intensive work by his Department, the Irish Embassy  in Riyadh and the industry over recent months.

“Last year Ireland exported some €2.4 billion worth of beef to around 70 countries. I am very cognisant of the need both to expand the number of beef markets but also to enhance existing market access given our current exposure to the UK beef market. 

“Minced, processed and cooked beef, are all potentially valuable products and we want to develop export opportunities for them, in addition to intact cuts of beef,” he said.

Minister Creed and Executive President of SFDA
Minister Creed and Executive President of SFDA

The Minister also discussed a number of technical certification issues of interest to the dairy and other sectors, and both sides agreed that the process for Irish sheep meat access should commence, and arrangements are being made to follow up on the necessary technical steps.

Last year Saudi Arabia was the third largest non-EU destination for Irish agri-food exports, only behind China and the USA. Total Agri food exports to Saudi Arabia increased from €92 million in 2013 to €136 million in 2016, representing an increase of almost 50% over the course of only 3 years.

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Minister Creed also attended the launch of Green Isle Foods Goodfellas pizza range at Danube, one of the largest Saudi retail outlets.

Green Isle Foods is Irelands’ largest frozen food manufacturing company and exports its products to over 30 countries worldwide.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Creed said; “I am delighted to have launched a branded Irish product on Saudi retail shelves. Green Isle Foods is a perfect example of an Irish prepared consumer foods company doing business all over the globe”. 

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