Japan lifts age restriction on imported beef

Since closing its borders to beef from animals over thirty months (OTM) of age following the 2003 BSE finding in Canada, Japan has announced it will now import beef from animals of all ages.

The ban, instituted in 2005, will be lifted for all importing countries, including Canada and the U.S.

Japan is an important market for Canadian beef, with exports to Japan totalling almost $215 million in 2018. Based on industry estimates, this change could further increase exports another 20 per cent.

The U.S. is calling this a big win and “open access” for American beef exports. It’s estimated the move will increase U.S. beef exports to Japan by seven to 10 per cent.

Canadian beef exports to Japan have been strong for the first quarter of 2019, following ratification and implementation of the CPTPP, a trade agreement that the U.S. pulled out of. In the first three months CPTPP was in force, Canadian beef exports to Japan increasing by more than 117 per cent.

The Canadian Cattlemen Association (CCA) expects exports of Canadian beef to increase even further. “The CCA has and will continue to advocate for free and open trade. We were pleased to see the access to Japan attained under CPTPP and are happy to see the market potential grow with new access for OTM,” says CCA president David Haywood-Farmer.

Under CPTPP, Japan’s 38.5 per cent tariffs on beef imports has already been reduced to 26.5 per cent, and will be further reduced to 9 per cent over 14 years.

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