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Coughlan highlights Quality and Safety of Irish Agriculture and Food Products during visit to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates

As part of the Trade Mission to Saudi Arabia headed by the Taoiseach, the Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, met with the Saudi Minister for Agriculture Mr Bulghunain with whom she had discussions on trade and co-operation and issues of common interest to both countries.

Minister Coughlan also met with the Minister of Economy/International Trade, Mr Yamani along with Minister Micheal Martin. In the course of both meetings, Minister Coughlan raised issues of trade in general with particular focus on agriculture and food products including milk, meat and baby food. In relation to beef, the Minister outlined the quality and safety of Irish product and the guarantees that the Irish government could give in relation to both. The Taoiseach Mr Ahern during his meeting with King Abdullah also discussed prospects of Irish beef exports to Saudi Arabia.

During the visit to United Arab Emirates Minister Coughlan met with the Minister for the Environment and Water His Excellency Dr Mohammed Saeed Al Kindi where she thanked him for lifting the ban last year on export of Irish beef from animals up to 12 months of age and discussed the possibility of having that age limit raised.

Commenting on the trip in general, the Minister referred to the huge potential that exists in these markets for Irish agricultural food products in view of ongoing demand for food, growing population and huge spending power.

In this regard, she welcomed the initiative taken by the Irish Dairy Board in re-launching the Kerrygold brand in the region.

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, met with the Saudi Minister for Agriculture Mr Bulghunain

17 January, 2007

Date Released: 17 January 2007