SEOUL, South Korea - An Irish delegation wrapped up a trade mission to Japan and South Korea, in Seoul on Friday.
On the final day of the mission, Ireland's Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed met with Vice-Minister Lee Jae-Ouk of the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
"Working relationships with the Korean authorities are excellent... On beef access, Ireland is now at Step 5 of an 8 step process in South Korea, and a vote in the Korean Parliament will be required before we can proceed to the next step. I have used the opportunity of today's meeting with Vice-Minister Lee, and a technical meeting between my officials and the Ministry for Food and Drug Safety, to advance the case for Irish beef access and to clarify the issues involved," Creed said in Seoul on Friday.
Friday's government to government meetings followed a Bord Bia Dairy Seminar and an EU-funded beef and pork seminar in Seoul on Thursday.
"Throughout the week, at more than 13 different events, targeted Japanese and Korean customers showed a strong interest in Ireland's food offering, particularly in the industry's approach to sustainability through the Origin Green programme," Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia said Friday. "Our industry seminars in Tokyo and Seoul provided the ideal backdrop to showcase to key food importers, wholesalers, buyers and media how the Irish industry can work with them in responding to consumer demands for quality, safe and sustainably produced food. The high level of engagement between Ireland's exporters and buyers is encouraging, and assures me that these opportunities will multiply as these economies grow, and their awareness of Ireland as a source of quality food and drinks increases in parallel to our market access."
Ireland now has unrestricted beef access to Japan, as well as agreement in principle on sheepmeat access. Japan and the South Korea are respectively the third and the eleventh biggest economies in the world, and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine sats as a result it has decided to step up its engagement in the region.
"As well as opening Bord Bia's new Tokyo office, I was able to announce that the first-ever agricultural attaché will be assigned by my Department to the Tokyo Embassy this autumn. This investment in Team Ireland in Japan will support market development in line with our Food Wise 2025 strategy," Creed said.
The Tokyo leg of the trade mission included an EU Beef and Lamb promotion, and a seminar on the EU Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Minister Creed also met with Japanese conglomerates Mitsui and Meiji, both of which have dairy interests, as well as Suntory Group, which owns two Irish distilleries.
(Pictured: Concluding a trade mission in Seoul Friday, Ireland's Agriculture Minister Michzael Creed meeting South Korea's Vice-Minister Lee Jae-Ouk of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to discuss Ireland's market access application for beef).