South Korea has completed the approval process with a vote in the national assembly for Irish and French beef to enter the market.

A start date for exports will depend on the completion of a certification and inspection process.

This vote follows pressure being applied by the European Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis during his visit in October, which was quickly followed by an Irish trade mission to the country which included the Taoiseach and a number of Government ministers.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said the move is an extremely positive development and is a very significant milestone.

“South Korea was designated as a priority market for Irish beef and my Department has been active in pursuit of this objective working through the very detailed application process.

“With a population of over 50m people, there is huge potential for Irish agri-food exporters to grow their footprint in the sophisticated Korean market.

“Last year, Irish agri-food exports increased to €75m in value so the foundations of strong relationships are already in place and adding beef to our exports will increase this further,” he said.