Japan fully opens market to Canadian beef

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

Japan is reopening its doors to processed beef from Canada, removing the last restrictions it has had in place since 2003, after the discovery of a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Alberta.

Japan is Canada’s third-largest market for agriculture and food exports.

“Under the new Indo-Pacific Strategy, the federal government committed to seizing economic opportunities for Canada by strengthening its regional partnerships, including with Japan. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, with the support of Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, has worked tirelessly over the past few years to assert the highest production standards and quality assurance of Canadian beef in order to reopen full access in key markets, like Japan,” the government says in a release.

In 2022, the Japanese market for Canadian beef and beef products had an estimated value of $518 million, largely due to Canada’s preferential access under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Under CPTPP, Japan’s 38.5% tariff on beef imports (including primary processed products like ground beef patties) will decrease to 23.35% by April 1, 2023, and will go down to 9% by 2033. Tariffs on further processed beef products will be reduced even more and in some cases – eliminated altogether.

Today’s announced expanded market access opportunity follows a loosening of restrictions in 2019, when Japan approved imports of Canadian beef from cattle older than 30 months.

“Cattle producers are grateful for the removal of trade barriers for processed beef in Japan, our second-largest export market for beef,” says Nathan Phinney, president of the Canadian Cattle Association. “Our industry will continue to support global food security by providing some of the most sustainable and highest quality beef in the world. We look forward to continuing to work with the Government of Canada to further remove remaining trade barriers and expanding our trade capacity in the Indo-Pacific region.”

According to Statistics Canada, the total value of Canadian beef exports to all countries in 2022 was over $4.6 billion.

Related: China still not importing Canadian beef, one-year after atypical BSE finding

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