Farm Ireland

Monday 20 November 2017

US market reopens to French beef

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The United States has announced the lifting of the embargo on imports of beef from France - the second EU country to gain access.

The European Commission has welcomed the decision, saying it is a new step in the reopening of a closed market since the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) crisis in the 1990s.

"Following similar decisions for Ireland , Lithuania and the Netherlands, the Commission welcomes the decision by the United States to authorize imports of beef from France, a further illustration of the European Union's efforts to eradicate the "

It said it was excellent news for French producers and that it would continue to work with all parties concerned to ensure that in the near future all Member States will have the same access to the US market.

"This decision by the US clearly demonstrates what we can achieve by having an open and constructive relationship with one of our most important trading partners," said Commissioners Cecilia Malmström, Trade Commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis, in charge of health and food security, and Phil Hogan, in charge of agriculture.

Ireland was the first EU Member State to be granted access to the US for manufacturing beef, which is typically used in burgers and processed products.

Access was granted to Irish manufacturing beef after more than a year of intensive work by the Department of Agriculture, it said, and built on the January 2015 granting of access to raw, intact Irish beef. The first shipments of Irish beef landed in the less than three months later, in time for St Patrick's day.

At the time, the then Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said the US market could be worth €100m per annum to Irish beef exports.

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However, Department of Agriculture figures, obtained by show that by the end of quarter three this year, only an estimated 1,800t of beef has been exported to the US, with an estimated value of €13m.

It said trade in manufacturing beef has not yet commenced so trade to date is entirely composed of intact cuts.

Total Irish beef exports to the US in 2015 were worth €14m.

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