Thursday, 26 September 2019
Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters
The pursuit and development of new markets for Irish agrifood exports continues to be an ongoing and central component of the strategic development of our agrifood sector. This is evidenced by its placement at the centre of Food Wise 2025, the industry’s strategy for development over the coming decade. The need to diversify our markets and to reduce our reliance on traditional destinations has been an ongoing objective of my
Food Wise 2025 outlines the potential for growth in agrifood exports to new and emerging markets, particularly Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Gulf region. Our efforts will be focused here for the foreseeable future. This is not in any way to diminish our commitment to existing traditional and long established markets. Accordingly, my Department is currently implementing ambitious plans to expand its presence globally by appointing agricultural attachés to new key market locations. These are informed primarily by Bord Bia's market prioritisation research and the appointments are taking place against the backdrop of the wider expansion of Ireland's global footprint, which is planned under the Government's Global Ireland 2025 initiative. The latter represents the most ambitious renewal and expansion of Ireland's international presence ever undertaken in terms of diplomacy, culture, business, overseas aid, tourism and trade.
In 2019, three new attaché posts have been added to the Irish embassy network in Berlin, Tokyo and Mexico City. This brings to 11 the number of locations in which agriculture attachés are stationed. In addition to these new posts, we are in the process of recruiting local hires in various locations where local knowledge and specialist expertise can support our market access and trade development initiatives. Trade promotion and negotiations, together with market access development, will make up the bulk of the activities in these new roles. Their activities will be carried out in close co-operation with Bord Bia and Enterprise Ireland, operating in accordance with the well-established team Ireland template.
The development of key relationships at political and official levels, as appropriate, will also be an important part of their remit. My experience over the past number of years on trade missions to emerging markets has been that such contacts are crucial to Ireland's efforts to gain new market access and to widen and broaden our existing levels of trade, both in value and volume terms. These new appointments will complement and build on the outstanding work being done by our attachés in Brussels, London, Paris, Rome, Geneva, Washington, Beijing and Abu Dhabi. The remit across these locations varies, with the balance between trade and policy work being struck in accordance with the priorities in each location. These appointments will be augmented by further expansion over the next few years as we refine and develop our market diversification strategy and make a further contribution to Global Ireland 2025. Plans are being advanced to appoint a new attaché to the embassy in Seoul and other locations are at an early stage of consideration.