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Minister Smith promotes Irish Food at the Moscow Food Fair

Mr. Brendan Smith T.D. Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food with special responsibility for Food is today traveling to Moscow to support the promotion of Irish food and drinks exports to Russia. Minister Smith will officially open the Bord Bia Stand at 'World Food Moscow' on Tuesday. This is an established event for trade contact and is regarded as the most important food and beverage showcase in Russia. Irish exporters will be represented on the Stand to promote the quality of Irish product.

Before he left, Minister Smith said "Russia is now a thriving economy with a population of over 140 million people and one of the fastest growing retail markets in the world. New format supermarkets and retail complexes are rapidly expanding and creating huge opportunities for imports of all kinds of food and drink products. Ireland is ideally placed to exploit those opportunities. I am satisfied that there is considerable potential for significant growth in Irish food and drink exports to Russia over the coming years."

Irish food and drink exports to Russia are expected to reach over €100 million in 2006 with meat products alone expected to be worth some €65 million. The other main food items exported are alcoholic beverages, seafood and infant formula. The value of the drinks trade is estimated at €7m and rising.

Over the past 10 years Russia has been a very solid market for Irish beef and pork. It remains the most important non-EU destination for Irish beef and is of particular relevance for our autumn beef trade. Minister Smith acknowledges the efforts last year by Bord Bia to successfully promote for the first time trade in Irish chilled beef to this destination as this will allow Irish beef to go up the value chain and establish a niche market.

Following attendance at the Food Fair, Minister Smith will meet the Minister for Food of Moscow City Government and later that evening will address a trade reception at the Irish Embassy in Moscow which will be attended by over 150 key trade contacts and people directly involved in trade relations between the two countries.

25 September, 2006

Date Released: 25 September 2006