The move by the Republic of Korea last month to open its market for Irish and French beef is a significant development for the European beef industry, the European Commission has said.

Last month, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue announced that all edible parts, including bones, produced from cattle aged under 30 months at the time of slaughter and offal are eligible for export.

"This follows consistent representations made by the Commission, including through direct outreach by Commission executive vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis in Seoul last November, when he raised the removal of restrictions on imports of EU beef with ministers and parliamentarians," the Commission said.

The Republic of Korea is one of the biggest import markets for beef in the world.

Cooperative efforts

"The removal of this trade barrier not only marks the start of Irish and French beef exports to the Republic of Korea, but also underscores the cooperative efforts between the EU and the Republic of Korea to ensure the safety and quality of traded food products," it added.

The Commission anticipates that other member states will soon follow in being able to export beef to the Republic of Korea, further deepening the trading relationship.

The Korean market closed imports from 15 EU member states in 2001 due to outbreaks of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). Following extensive discussions with the European Commission, the Republic of Korea re-opened its market to EU beef from Denmark and the Netherlands in 2019.