Irish beef exports show modest rise year after US lifts ban

Irish beef exports show modest rise year after US lifts ban

The total value of Irish beef exports to the US was only €6m during the first quarter of this year.

Up to 700 tonnes of beef were exported to the country, it lifted its ban on importing beef from Ireland over a year ago.

When the decision to allow Irish producers to sell into the US market was made, acting Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said that Ireland could sell up to 20,000 tonnes to the US and that this trade would be worth €100m per year to the Irish beef industry.

The current agreement only allows the sale of high-value steak cuts, in this industry Irish meat faces stiff competition from US firms.

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture described the start to the year as "strong" adding that it comes after improved performance through 2015.

"The department remains engaged with the US authorities to allow for the extension of exports to include manufacturing beef," she added, Irish producers are keen to see the rules changed to allow the export of Irish minced beef to the US.

The Department of Agriculture has negotiated a deal for Irish beef to be sold into the massive Chinese market, but it has not been given the final green light almost a year after Chinese leaders signalled that they will end the embargo.

"On China, the department is working closely with the Chinese authorities to finalise the remaining technical steps to allow trade of Irish beef to China to commence," the spokesperson added.

Chinese officials registered their disappointment earlier in this month when Ireland voted to support a US motion condemning China's human rights record at the UN.

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