A technical delegation from Egypt arrived earlier this week in Ireland to decide on the future of beef trade between the two countries. According to Irish Times, the Egyptian delegation will inspect beef and cattle for possible foot-and mouth disease, and review Irish controls on the disease.
On June 5, the Egyptian government has announced that its ban on all beef imports from the European Union (EU), including Ireland, will remain in force until at least October. The news came as a major blow to the Irish beef industry, which has celebrated the re-opening of several major international markets in recent weeks.
Following the announcement, Egypt's Ambassador to Ireland Ashraf Rashed has asked authorities in Cairo to treat Irish beef imports as a special case, the Irish Times reported. In a bid to win back lost markets, the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) has urged the country's agriculture minister to launch a major public relations campaign.
Egypt is the biggest non-EU market for Irish beef. Beef trade between Ireland and Egypt is valued at an estimated 200 million pounds ($227 million) a year, and accounting for around 60 percent of beef exports to non-EU countries. Trade will resume this coming fall if Egyptian officials deem Irish beef safe for consumption.
Ireland was the site of the first case of the foot-and mouth disease in 1989. Since, the disease has plagued European and worldwide beef markets, causing devastating financial losses to the industry. — (MENA Report)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )