Waterford TD John Deasy, who led the delegation, said: “The inescapable fact is that Vietnam needs to be immediately targeted by Bord Bia due to the ending of the quota regime.
“The European Commission will shortly finalise a free trade agreement with Vietnam and by extension gain access to 630 million consumers in the ASEAN group of countries.”
He added: “A good deal has happened since our return. Following conversations I’ve had with Simon Coveney, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has agreed to fund additional Bord Bia personnel in emerging markets.
“Based on the draft report we’ve been working on, a Bord Bia presence in Vietnam to specifically target food and dairy industry trade links has been agreed in principle. We’ve also been in contact with Bord Bia who support this measure.”
Mr Deasy said: “One criticism we heard was that all of our bets seems to be placed on China. At present Bord Bia’s staff in that part of the world is based in Shanghai, while Enterprise Ireland operates out of Singapore.
“If we want a greater piece of the export trade dominated by countries such as New Zealand and Holland then we need to put resources in place to carry out market analysis and promotion; creating awareness of our capacity to produce premium dairy goods, including infant milk formula for instance,” the Fine Gael deputy added.
“Our local dairy farmers in Waterford rely on Bord Bia to expand the global market in order to sell their produce. We need to spread the risk associated with the volatility across the dairy sector by entering new territories such as Vietnam and other emerging economies.”