This week, an Irish agri-trade mission is visiting Japan and the Republic of Korea to help boost export growth.
The trade mission is being led by Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and stage agency Bord Bia.
“I am delighted to lead my second trade mission to Japan and the Republic of Korea which will strengthen and build ties between Ireland and these two countries in relation to agri-food,” said Mr Creed.
“Trade Missions help to build the Government-to-Government and business-to-business relationships which can make a real difference to Irish food and drink exporters. This work is critically important against the backdrop of Brexit.”
Big in Japan
Ireland’s total agri-food exports to Japan in 2018 amounted to €115 million, double the level in 2016, according to CSO trade statistics.
Last year, pigmeat exports to Japan amounted to €41 million; while dairy products, mainly cheddar cheese, amounted to €40 million.
Fish (€14 million) and beverages (€8 million) are other important export categories.
Beef exports to Japan amounted to €3.6 million last year.
“Government to Government meetings in Japan will focus on furthering Ireland’s application for market access for sheepmeat, as well as exploring the opportunities for both countries arising from the comprehensive EU/Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (JEEPA),” said Mr Creed.
“2019 is particularly important year for the Irish-Japanese relationship, with thousands of Irish Rugby supporters visiting the country for the Rugby World Cup in the autumn.
“Ireland play Japan in the group stages ensuring that awareness of Ireland will be at a peak allowing us the opportunity to highlight all Ireland has to offer from a food, tourism and trade perspective.”
Boosting exports in Korea
The Republic of Korea is already a significant importer of Irish produce with exports in 2018 amounting to €36 million. Pigmeat and fish were the main export categories.
Mr Creed said: “I want to further develop Ireland’s profile as a producer of safe quality food for the valuable Korean market. Government to Government meetings will focus on progressing the next steps in achieving market access for beef and poultry meat.”
Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy added: “We are increasing Bord Bia’s resources in Japan and South Korea to leverage opportunities for Irish exporters and producers to build their market share.
“Our market and consumer insights convinces us that sustainably produced Irish food is well positioned to leverage the growing customer appreciation here of the provenance of food and sustainable production.
“This trade mission will give us the chance to introduce our unique and sustainably produced food offering to the highest levels of the food industry in both countries.”