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Coveney Re-Affirms Close Trading Relationships Between Ireland and the UK - Visit to London to Consolidate Co-Operation and Goodwill

Speaking in advance of his forthcoming visit tomorrow and Friday to the UK, The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD today re-affirmed the importance of bilateral trade in food and drink trade between Ireland and the UK and the close relationships between the two industries and both Governments. The visit will provide a networking opportunity that will assist in fostering and enhancing that co-operation and good will at all levels.

Minister Coveney said "relations between the UK and Ireland are presently at an all time high - which I attribute to a very successful visit by HM Queen Elizabeth II to Ireland. We were delighted to have the opportunity to showcase Irish food and drink produce to such a special audience and this has stimulated even more interest in the UK in our food products".

Minister Coveney added that food and drink represents Ireland's most important indigenous industry and account for 8% of the total workforce and 9% of GDP. "As a country we take considerable pride in the fact that Ireland is now firmly established as one of the largest suppliers of food and drink to the UK. Irish food and drink exports to the UK were worth €3.8 billion in 2010 and were up 8.3% in the first four months of this year". Irish companies supply a huge range of goods from primary meats and seafood to alcohol, dairy, frozen ready meals, handmade chocolates and the more sophisticated functional foods. In turn, Ireland is the UK's single largest food and drinks market.

Commenting on Ireland's overall trading relationship with the UK, the Minister said "In a typical year, Ireland and the UK buy and sell - to and from each other - about £25 billion (€37 billion) worth of goods and services in total". British consumers have a positive perception of and strong propensity to buy Irish products; they often see Ireland as having a strong tradition of farming and respect for the countryside. The Minister extended an invitation to those present to "Come and visit the many food festivals, food trails and sample a beverage in one of our breweries at your leisure".

 

Date Released: 29 June 2011