To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the efforts being made to increase trade between Ireland and Egypt including live cattle exports; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The pursuit and development of new markets for Irish agri-food exports is an ongoing and central component of the strategic development of the agri-food sector, as evidenced by its placement right at the centre of Food Wise 2025, the industry’s strategy for development over the coming decade. Food Wise 2025 outlines the huge potential for growth in agri-food exports to new and emerging markets, particularly in Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Gulf region. This is where our efforts will be focused for the foreseeable future, particularly given the need to diversify our markets and to reduce our reliance on traditional destinations such as the UK.
Ireland’s main exports to Egypt are dairy products and fish. Bord Bia's recent market prioritisation report - which was compiled at my request and identified export opportunities in new and more mature markets - identified Egypt as an important dairy market, so we will continue to engage with the dairy industry to enhance these exports.
My Department has also engaged with the Egyptian authorities on several occasions in relation to live trade, including receiving an official delegation from Egypt in June 2018. In January this year, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD, discussed the issue of animal health certificates with the Egyptian Deputy Minister for Agriculture. The Egyptian authorities indicated willingness to consider amending existing health certificates and putting a new certificate for breeding stock in place. My Department's Chief Veterinary Officer wrote to his counterpart on 18th January with three proposed health certificates for the export of fattening, slaughter and breeding cattle. This engagement with the Egyptian authorities will continue, with the aim of re-establishing live exports as soon as might be possible.
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