Minister Creed has led a major Agri-food Trade Mission to the USA and Mexico.
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Minister Creed has led a major Agri-food Trade Mission to the USA and Mexico.

Creed heads Agri-Food Trade Mission.

Minister Creed has led a major Agri-food Trade Mission to the USA and Mexico.

This has been done in preparation for Brexit. Mr. Creed has fronted a group of delegates making their way on their week-long trade mission to the US and Mexico.

The delegates include state agencies and representatives from the Irish food industry.

The visit began yesterday in Washington and the group will make their way through Maryland, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Chicago and Mexico City. The trade mission will be made up of approximately 30 events and engagements.

Mr. Creed, when discussing the trip, highlighted its importance of providing the agri-food sector other opportunities to expand and grow in international markets. He says this can be done by developing current export opportunities and by opening new markets.

He said This trade mission is a great opportunity to strengthen our existing market presence in the United States, to deepen the existing footprint of the Irish food sector in Mexico, and establish a platform to develop new market opportunities for Irish beef and pigmeat there. It will also allow us crucial opportunities to meet representatives of the new US administration, and to gain a better understanding of their key policy priorities in the agri food sector. It will also allow us to engage with political counterparts in Mexico as we endeavour to forge new opportunities for Irish food companies.”

Long, constructive conversations between Mr. Creed and the US secretary of state for Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, have already take place via the telephone. Though this initial conversation will be continued during upcoming meetings with other influencers like Ray Starling, Special assistant to the President on Agriculture and Trade. There will also be meetings with officials in the US department of agriculture and the US trade Representation. It is also scheduled for the minister to meet with the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Pat Roberts.

This trade mission will also see the group of delegates meet with key meat, dairy, beverage and agri-industry representatives. The aim of this is do try and better understand how each sector operates as well as to showcase the Irish dairy, meat and beverages offerings. Currently The United States is a major importer of Irish agri-food products which, in 2016, were valued at more than €1 billion.

Speaking before departing on said mission was CEO of Bord Bia, Tara McCarthy. She said they will be seeking USDA approval on 8 marketing claims for Irish Beef, audited by USDA last week and hopes to be able to use the USDA seal on products. “Next week will mark the fifth anniversary of the launch of Origin Green and we will demonstrate to US food and beverage customers how partnering with Origin Green verified members can provide them with competitive yet differentiated Irish products through the high quality, sustainably produced food and drink increasingly demanded by their consumers. We will also be seeking approval from the USDA for our eight marketing claims for Irish beef which were audited by the USDA last week. Approval would allow us and our customers to integrate the claims within our US strategy and use the USDA seal on products and in store.”

In Mexico, Minister Creed’s itinerary will include meetings with the Mexican Secretary (Minister) for Agriculture (SAGARPA), Jose Eduardo Calzada Rovirosa and with Sub Secretary (Vice Minister) for Trade, Juan Carlos Baker Pineda.

The focus will be on trade development opportunities. Speaking about the trip to Mexicao Mr. Creed called the country a significant importer and says he will meet with local beef and pig meat experts to try and understand better the markets. He said “Mexico is a significant importer of agri food products and is a new and developing market where we need to establish relationships and links. Meetings with political counterparts, as well as local experts in the pigmeat and beef industries, will help us to better understand the market and to align our food offering with the demands of the Mexican market.”

Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy herself spoke of the Mexico leg of the mission,“In Mexico we will be engaging with meat industry representatives in advance of access for pigmeat and beef, to ensure we are well positioned when the market is opened, as well as meeting with drinks and dairy buyers to build Ireland’s brand in the market”

Mexico is already Ireland’s 14th biggest bilateral trading partner worldwide and Ireland’s biggest trading partner in Latin America. In particular, Mexico was the 13th largest destination for Irish dairy exports in 2016 with total exports of around €52.6 million or 14,500 tonnes. However, there is potential for significant growth in the volume and value of Irish exports.

Minister Creed concluded by again highlighting the importance of trade development and diversification against the background of Brexit. He spoke of his delight at leading the group on this mission and hopes it will see positive improvements in the Agri-food sector. He stated, “Building new opportunities for trade is already a central element in Ireland’s Food Wise 2025 Strategy and is all the more important against the background of Brexit. I am delighted to lead this important trade mission and I am convinced that the collaboration between Government, its agencies and industry operators that is evident on such missions makes a real and positive difference to Irish companies exporting into these market”

The group of delegates departed yesterday and are expected to conclude all affairs by June 24th.

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