Confirmed by the Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, the trade agreement was made in principle last month and will take effect from 19 July.
“I am delighted to announce market access for Irish sheepmeat to Japan, agreed in principle during my trade mission to Tokyo last month” Minister Creed said. “The Japanese authorities have now formally agreed the export verification programme and export certificate as proposed by my Department, to take effect from next Friday 19 July.”
According to the Irish Central Statistics Office, total agri-food exports to Japan in 2018 amounted to €115m, double that of 2016. In 2018, pig meat exports to Japan amounted to €41m, while dairy products, mainly cheddar cheese, amounted to €40m. Beef exports to Japan amounted to €3.6m in 2018.
“The announcement reflects the ongoing focused effort by my Department to open and enhance market access to key markets,” added Creed. “We now have access for both beef and sheepmeat exports to Japan, a strong endorsement of Ireland food safety and quality credentials, and of our excellent working relationships, both at Government and official level.
“I want to thank my Japanese Ministerial counterparts and their officials for the rapid conclusion of the formalities of sheepmeat access, following our detailed discussions last month.”
Creed praised his team in Japan and highlighted the growing working relationship between the two countries. “Thanks are also due to Team Ireland in Tokyo, led by Ambassador Paul Kavanagh, and including Bord Bia’s new Tokyo office,” he said. “I am pleased that the first agricultural attaché from my Department to Tokyo will join this team in the autumn. With a strong EU Japan Economic Partnership Agreement in place, not to mention the upcoming Rugby World Cup, there will be significant opportunities to promote Irish food and drink in the Japanese market.”
Ireland isn’t the only market to benefit from Japan. Earlier this month, the US reported a rise in beef and pork exports driven by Japanese interest.