Dáil Éireann - Volume 546 - 11 December, 2001

Written Answers. - Live Exports.

155. Mr. U. Burke asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the numbers of cattle exported to the Egyptian market since his announcement of the re-opening of this market; if he proposes to include over-30 months old cattle in the future; and the value to date in 2001 of this reopened market. [31888/01]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): On 7 October I announced that the Egyptian authorities had that day published a decree to extend the existing European wide ban on beef imports but, in a major development, the decree provided for an exemption for countries with BSE controls of the type operated by Ireland. The decree relates specifically to beef and not to live cattle.

The Egyptian veterinary requirement is for two year old animals, with age determined by routine dentition checks. The question of competing for contracts is a commercial matter for the exporters involved. Now that the import ban has been removed in so far as Ireland is concerned, I am, naturally, hopeful that Irish companies will compete to regain the level of market share they enjoyed in recent years in this important market.