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Market Access for Irish Beef to Libya Expected Shortly

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, said today that he understood the Libyan authorities are about to lift their 16 year ban on the importation of beef  from Ireland and other EU countries. The Minister is optimistic that official confirmation of this will be received imminently.

The Minister said that the progress reflected the intensive efforts over many years at political, diplomatic and technical level and represented the continuing improvement in relations between Libya and the EU. It also was a recognition by the Libyan authorities of the quality and safety of Irish and EU beef. In a recent written communication with the Libyan Minister for Agriculture and Animal and Sea Resources, Minister Coveney said that he had emphasised the fact that Ireland applies the highest animal health standards and the strictest veterinary public health controls along the food chain and that these are the bedrock of our agri-food industry. He added that the next step now is to agree veterinary health certificates with the Libyan authorities which will set out the conditions under which the export of Irish beef can take place. It is hoped that these will be agreed soon.

The Minister concluded by saying that "This is a very exciting time for Irish agriculture and food.  My visit to China last week was tangible evidence of the fact that there is unlimited potential in the global market place for Irish food exports. We are seen globally as a serious producer of high quality food and as a centre of excellence in terms of food safety, sustainable production systems, animal breeding and genetics. I remain committed to working to ensure that Irish producers have access to as many world markets as possible. With this in mind, my Department will continue to work closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Bord Bia to develop and expand our agri food exports".

Date Released: 25 April 2012