Brexit watch – with less than 10 months until the UK formally leaves the European Union, Bord Bia has launched a new report that identifies and analyses the top 15 growth markets for Irish food and drink exports.
It follows 75 in-depth studies commissioned by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and co-ordinated by Bord Bia.
The report – Prioritising Markets: Opportunities for Growth, details the increasing importance of other markets for food and drink exporters. Using macro-economic and sector-specific criteria, over 180 markets were screened and assessed for each category.
Launching the findings this week, The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed said that agri-food exports from Ireland exceeded €13bn last year.
Although the UK and other European markets remain vitally important, half of this growth came from markets outside Europe.
This was led by a six-fold increase in exports to China, a doubling of business with the rest of Asia and north America and a rise of 40% in trade to the Middle East and Africa.
Noting the importance of these major international markets, the Minister said: “Today China is the second biggest market for Irish dairy, while the US absorbs almost 45% of Irish whiskey exports.
He went on to say: “If the growth trends evident between 2009 and 2016 continue, international markets will account for over 40% of Irish food and drinks exports by 2025.”
The key highlights of the Bord Bia report reveal:
- Changing global circumstances move the ‘diversification’ opportunity centre stage. Whilst the UK and European markets remain important to Irish exporters – Asia, North America and the Middle East are increasingly attracting Irish food.
- It lists priority markets for meat producers which include: China, Japan, Indonesia, Mexico the United Arab Emirates (UAE), South Korea, Iran, Australia, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Thailand.
- For dairy producers priority markets include Nigeria Saudi Arabia, Algeria China, Brazil, Egypt Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, the Phillipines, South Korea, the UAE and the US.
Chief Executive of Bord Bia, Tara McCarthy said the report provides Irish food and drink manufacturers with substantial data and insight with which to prepare a strategic approach to international export markets.
“In the context of the uncertainty that persists around Brexit, this is, above all, a positive assertion of the long-term possibilities for our industry,” she said. “
Additionally, the report explains where opportunities lie for Irish producers. For example, frozen boneless beef is a dominant import requirement in Vietnam and a sector in which Irish producers could be competitive.
For dairy producers in Malaysia the report finds that cheddar, mozzarella or whole milk powder provide significant opportunity for Irish exporters considering the country applies zero tariffs on those products.
Commenting on the value of Irish exports, Minister Creed said: “Over the last six years, the value of Irish dairy exports has increased by 11 per cent, the value of our beef exports by almost 50 per cent, cereals and cereal preparations by 59 per cent, seafood and seafood exports by 50 per cent, forestry exports doubled from €112 million to €226 million and sheep meat exports increased by 70 per cent.”
“Notwithstanding this significant success, we must, in the light of Brexit, intensify our efforts further to diversify those international markets that offer the best potential for growth,” he added.