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USA to loosen restrictions on imports of EU beef

The news has been welcomed by Simon Coveney, who said that the US will be a “very interesting market” for Ireland’s grass-fed beef.

THE USA HAS changed its regulations on the importing of beef from the European Union.

The restrictions were put in place in 1997 due to the BSE crisis in the EU. Ireland is now classified as ‘controlled risk’ under the standards of the World Organisation for Animal Health.

However, this was not recognised by the US, which blocked market access for Ireland. This has now changed, and under a new rule to amend regulations, the above risk determination can be accepted by the US.

Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD welcomed the announcement by the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today.

Minister Coveney said that the issue was one of his priorities when he visited the US last year and he “pushed the matter strongly with US Department of Agriculture Secretary of State Tom Vilsack and in meetings with Senators”.

He said that the decision “provides an opportunity for Ireland to penetrate a sector of the US beef market which can reward top quality, sustainably produced beef”.

Following the publication of the new regulation, the Dept of Agriculture is working to complete specific veterinary requirements demanded by the US for Irish beef.

His officials will continue to engage with the USDA and Irish producers to finalise the various technical requirements. This is so that Ireland can commence trade at the earliest possible date.

The Minister said that the US consumer, and particularly those of Irish heritage, would be “a very interesting market for our grass fed beef”.

Read: ICSA: No nasty surprises for farmers in the Budget>

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