A week long trade mission to the Gulf states of Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Saudi Arabia led by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney gets underway today. 

Representatives of 34 food and agri services companies as well as officials from Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Horseracing Ireland have travelled with the Minister. 

The mission is part of the effort to build closer commercial and political links with the Arabian Gulf region. 

Ireland currently exports more than €200m of foodstuffs to the Gulf states and Bord Bia hopes to double that in the coming years.

The visit also hopes to build on already well-established ties in the bloodstock and horse-racing sectors. 

"This mission is about providing a platform for Irish entrepreneurs and businesses in the food, food technology and equine sectors to build positive business relationships in a region which is rich in commercial potential, said Mr Coveney. 

"I am confident that by supporting Irish business in this way we can make a significant contribution to building commercial success and ultimately ensuring that the agri food and equine sectors continue to make a vital contribution to the Irish economy, the minister said.