Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney will arrive in the U.S. on Sunday for a six-day trade mission to Washington DC and Chicago.

During  his official visit, Minister Coveney will have a series of meetings with U.S. Secretary for Agriculture Mr. Vilsack and key influencers on agricultural matters in the US Senate. The Irish minister will raise the issue of access for high quality Irish beef and sheepmeat to the US market. Ireland is currently the fourth largest net exporter of beef in the world.

Coveney will also engage in a series of meetings with leading multinational food and drinks companies, and representatives of Irish companies operating here in the U.S. The meetings and discussions will cover a range of investment and trade issues.

Speaking about the trade mission visit, Minister Coveney said: “The US already represents an important food and drinks market for Ireland. There is strong potential to continue to grow export sales to the US – both in existing and new categories.”

“The Irish food industry has developed into a sophisticated, outward looking and dynamic sector and a number of Irish owned companies have a significant presence in the US.  International food and drink companies have also established important businesses in Ireland and there is significant potential to increase this figure, in particular from the US,” his department said in a statement.

“In terms of exports, the value of Irish food and drink exports to the US was US$580 million in 2011, an increase of +16.6 percent over 2010 (CSO), and there is significant potential for growth.”

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