Egypt has given the green light to the resumption of beef imports from Ireland.

A deal between the countries’ governments will see Ireland’s beef exporters able to ship products to Egypt for the first time since the late 1990s when the Arab country banned beef from Ireland.

Under the terms of the agreement, Egypt has given its approval to five Irish plants to start exports “once the necessary technical arrangements are in place”, Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine said.

The deal follows the opening of the Egyptian market to live Irish cattle in February last year.

Michael Creed, Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, said: “We know that prior to their ban on EU beef in the late 1990’s it was one of the largest markets for Irish beef at the time.”

Egypt is the third biggest destination for Irish agri-food exports in Africa, with sales of EUR45m in 2015, almost exclusively made up of dairy and seafood, the ministry said.