Sporting chance to lift Irish-Japanese relations

Awareness of Ireland in Japan will be at a peak when the two nations meet at the Rugby World Cup, said Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture.

Minister Creed is this week leading his second agri-food trade mission to Japan and the Republic of Korea. Total agri-food exports to Japan in 2018 amounted to €115m, double the level of exports in 2016, according to CSO trade statistics.

Minister Creed said: “Thousands of Irish rugby supporters will visit the country for the Rugby World Cup in the autumn. Ireland play Japan in the group stages ensuring that awareness of Ireland will be at a peak allowing us the opportunity to highlight all Ireland has to offer from a food, tourism and trade perspective.”

Last year, pigmeat exports to Japan amounted to €41 million; while dairy products, mainly cheddar cheese, amounted to €40m. Fish (€14m) and beverages (€8m) are other important export categories.

Beef exports to Japan amounted to €3.6m last year. Last month’s announcement by Japanese authorities of the removal of the restriction on exports of beef from animals over 30 months, following detailed technical exchanges and an audit visit, offers opportunities for further growth.

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