Two new Agriculture Attaché posts in the Irish Embassies in Beijing and Moscow are to be established according to the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney TD. This move reflects the level of importance of the growing trade and maturing diplomatic ties between Ireland and the town countries.
According to the Department, strengthening of these relationships will serve to assist Irish food, drinks, ingredients, genomics, feed and equine sectors in their efforts at building trading relationships in these two countries. The posts will have, within their remit, the goal to maintain and develop key strategic relationships at government and industry levels, facilitating trade and market access, in association with Bord Bia, and developing other key relationships with government, industry, educational and research institutes.
These Attaché posts have been established following an internal review of resources within the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, and will complement the existing diplomatic and Irish agency staff in both China and Russia and the additional resources recently allocated to Bord Bia in Asia and Germany.
According to the Minister, the Departments’ focus “on emerging markets and in particular the Chinese and Russian markets, is in line with the industry strategy outlined in Food Harvest 2020. We are actively seeking out and facilitating new trade opportunities in emerging export markets in light of the ambitious growth planned in production in the Irish meat, dairy, seafood and beverages sectors over the coming years. Ireland expects to increase its exports of food and beverages by 25 percent to €12bn by 2020 and is already on target in 2012, with exports of food and beverages reaching €9bn for the first time ever”.
The Minister added: “We cannot underestimate the importance of the work which our diplomatic staff and the staff of Bord Bia undertake abroad. In facilitating growth in our exports to these countries and in maintaining Ireland’s international reputation as a source of natural high quality food drinks and ingredients, they are contributing to generating foreign earnings and maintaining jobs in Ireland”.