Ireland needs to push EU authorities to accelerate their efforts to gain full market access to US and China, says Meat Industry Ireland.
The Ibec meat factory group says access to these key markets would help offset losses resulting from Russia’s ongoing embargo on many EU food imports, plus losses caused by trade disputes in France.
Meat Industry Ireland has urged Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to do everything possible to secure this access and to use the next Agricultural Council to seek an EU-wide resolution to these market issues.
Meat Industry Ireland senior executive Joe Ryan said the group is concerned about the weakening demand for beef products, especially across continental Europe, in part fuelled by the backwash from reticent French importers.
“In France, due to producer protests, the focus of retail and food-service operators on purchasing domestically produced product has left Irish exporters searching for alternative market outlets where they are competing with other suppliers similarly locked out of France,” said Mr Ryan.
“Other continental markets remain weak and while Irish prices for finished cattle are at 110% or so of the EU average price, way above their EU competitors; this is not sustainable.
“The chances of any increased access to the UK retail sector have diminished due the recent ‘buy British’ market sentiment there too.”
The Meat Industry Ireland executive said trade in international markets, including Japan and the Philippines, has slowed and the recent economic turbulence in China is directly or indirectly impacting on world trade due to increased competition from other international exporters for their share of depressed volumes.
Meat Industry Ireland is also urging the EU Agriculture Council to review meat markets in its discussions at the emergency meeting in September, in particular recent internal trade disruptions, the ongoing Russian embargo and the need for progress on international market access.
“Meat Industry Ireland has reiterated that increased market access is crucial to minimise the effects of the weakened demand being experienced presently in many of our key markets,” said Mr Ryan.
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