Thursday 23 January 2020

Ireland's food sales to Europe beat UK exports

Global outlook: Bord Bia chief Tara McCarthy is keen to secure growth in new markets
Global outlook: Bord Bia chief Tara McCarthy is keen to secure growth in new markets
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

The European Union last year accounted for 35pc of Irish food and drink exports, more than sales to the UK for the first time. Global exports reached the €13bn mark.

Within the EU, the Netherlands - which mainly imports dairy products from Ireland - was the top destination for Irish food exports. The market there was last year worth €1.1bn, up 11pc year-on-year.

France and Germany made up the top three EU destinations for Irish food and drink exports, buying some €887m and €774m worth of our produce respectively.

Elsewhere, the rest of the world accounted for 31pc of exports, up 2pc year-on-year.

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Despite the strong performance in the EU, where exports were up 1pc year-on-year, the UK still accounted for 34pc of exports, down by 3pc on 2018.

This comes on the back of increased uncertainty around what level of access Irish food and drink producers will have to the UK market following Britain's exit from the EU.

Overall, food and drink exports reached €13bn in 2019, up 7pc on the prior year. This is the highest level of exports in Bord Bia's 25-year history.

Tara McCarthy, CEO of the State agency, said it was a "watershed year" for the industry, "not only in the total value of exports achieved, but also in the make-up of their destination".

Beef exports to the UK were down 7pc, with its beef market now worth €990m.

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