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Significant Step Towards Access to South Korea for Irish Beef

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD and Minister of State with responsibility for New Market Development Martin Heydon TD welcomed the decision of the National Assembly of South Korea to advance Irish beef application access to the next stage.

Securing beef access has been the subject of much discussion at diplomatic, political and administrative levels since this process commenced most notable during Minister McConalogues visit to earlier Korea in October this year and Minister Heydon’s visit in March. Completing this stage allows Irish and Korean authorities to progress to the final steps of the application process.

Minister McConalogue noted, “this extremely positive development is a very significant milestone in achieving market access for Irish beef in this important market. South Korea was designated as a priority market for Irish beef and my Department has been active in pursuit of this objective working through the very detailed application process. With a population of over 50 million people there is huge potential for Irish Agri-food exporters to grow their footprint in the sophisticated Korean market. Last year, Irish agri-food exports increased to €75million in value so the foundations of strong relationships are already in place and adding beef to our exports will increase thus further.”

“This development follows my participation in the recent whole of Government trade mission to South Korea led by An Taoiseach. The key aim of this mission for me was to advance the access application for Irish beef. During this visit, I held a positive and ultimately fruitful discussion with Mr So Byung Hoon, member of the National Assembly and Chairman of the Agriculture Committee. In addition, the matter was raised by An Taoiseach during his meeting with the Korean President.”

Continuing, the Minister commented, “the progress we are seeing today shows the importance of open and constructive dialogue using all avenues of engagement. Our Ambassador and Agriculture Attache in Seoul have kept channels of communication open and our strong collaboration with the European Commission also played a significant role in moving this process forward. The final steps required now are agreement of a Veterinary Health Certificate and hosting an audit visit to approve plants for export. My officials have already commenced work in both these areas and will continue to engage intensively with their counterparts in Korea to ensure timely progress.”

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin Heydon TD, who has special responsibility for New Market Development, commented, “I am pleased to see this development coming as a result of considerable engagement at official, diplomatic and political level over recent years. I travelled to Korea and met with Chairman So and the relevant Government departments during my visit to Seoul for St. Patricks Day this year to pursue this matter. I also got an understanding for the Korean market where there is potential for Irish beef so it is welcome to see this file progressed to the next stage.”

“The expansion and diversification of markets for Irish beef is central to the development of the sector and in growing the value of Irish agri-food exports.”

The author: Ryan Harmon