Dairy firm Ornua, owner of the Kerrygold brand, has welcomed a five-year suspension of tariffs on EU dairy products into the United States.
The group said that it was responsible for 90% of the butter that is exported from the bloc into the US, and that these punitive tariffs 'represented an unwelcome and unnecessary barrier to doing business'.
The tariffs were imposed in 2019, as part of an ongoing Boeing-Airbus dispute, and had meant that all EU dairy exports into the US were subjected to a 25% tariff, making them at least 25% more expensive.
‘We welcome [the] decision to prolong the suspension of punitive tariffs on Kerrygold in the US," commented John Jordan, chief executive, Ornua. "The removal of tariffs represents a unique opportunity for continued growth and further investment in the US market in line with our ambitious growth strategy.
"Kerrygold is currently the No. 2 butter brand with significant opportunity to further grow its market share in a 330 million consumer market.’
Ornua, which reported a 0.9% increase in turnover last year, said that it achieved 'remarkable' growth in the US in 2020, despite the tariffs, due to the changes to consumer behaviour as a result of the COVID pandemic.
It said that Kerrygold is now the preferred dairy brand of 10% of US consumers, with Irish butter viewed as having a 'premium reputation' among shoppers.
According to Bord Bia data, Irish dairy exports to the US rose from €295 million in 2018 to €343 million in 2019, before the tariffs were introduced. Even with tariffs, further growth was achieved last year, albeit at a lower level, with Irish dairy exports totalling €359 million.
Exports to the US in volume terms stood at 57.4 million kilograms.