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Ireland secures improved access for beef to 'gateway' market of 600m people


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The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine have reached a new agreement for enhanced beef trade with Singapore, FarmIreland can reveal.

The previous certificate restricted exports to boneless beef only derived from cattle aged less than 30 months. The new certificate provides for the export of boneless beef derived from cattle of all ages, as well as bone-in beef from cattle aged less than 30 months.

Although Singapore, in terms or land area, is similar in size to Co. Louth, it has a population of 5.5m and is seen as a gateway market for the South/East Asia region that has almost doubled in value terms (€299m) for Irish exports since 2012 (€171m).

This has been driven by increasing populations sizes and wealth leading to increased protein consumption. Dairy is currently Ireland's largest export to the market accounting for almost half of all exports (€143m).

Irish pigmeat has been established for a considerable period in the market with significant exports to Japan and South Korea. In recent times trade on seafood has been very positive also with South Korea, notably, providing a valuable market for Irish whelk.

Japan and Philippines are destinations for Irish beef in S&E Asia with advances being made by the Department of Agriculture on expanding access to include South Korea and Vietnam.

In 2016, exports directly to Singapore stood at €30m representing five year growth of 12pc.

Beef (including offals) accounted for less than €800,000 of this. The revised agreement on access for Irish beef removes the 30 month kill restriction for boneless beef.

The new agreement also allows for bone in beef from cattle killed under 30 months.

This will provide additional opportunities for prime bone in Irish beef suitable for the high end restaurants found in this wealthy city state (US$53,000 GDP per capita in 2016).

Singapore imported 28,809t of beef in total during January to October of 2016, up 18pc on the corresponding months in 2015.

The largest supplier to the market was Brazil (up 30pc to 11,756t), followed by Australia (down 9pc to 9,162t).

The context for the new agreement with Singapore was part of Minister Creed’s seven point plan for increased international market access, announced last April.

In terms of existing markets where conditions of certification presented a barrier, market access for beef to Singapore was indicated as a high priority by exporters.

It comes after Bord Bia opened a regional office in the country for South and East Asia in September 2016.

This office has responsibility for eight separate markets; Japan, Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines and Thailand - an estimated combined total population of over 600m people.

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