Japan takes back Irish beef in €12m deal

Beef — including offal — has been added to Japanese imports from Ireland that include pork, seafood, and dairy.

Japan is to reopen its market to Irish beef for the first time since the outbreak of BSE in a deal expected to be worth around €12m a year to be agreed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo later today.

Mr Kenny, who is leading a trade mission to Japan, said it is an “ideal time” to develop closer business links between Ireland and Japan, with a particular emphasis on the agri-food sector.

Japan was an important market for Irish beef in the past — in particular, beef offal and muscles connecting the stomach, known as “mountain chain” which, if produced from grass, carries a high premium in Japan.

Mr Kenny said talks on reopening the market have been taking place “for some time” and Japanese scientists recently visited a number of processing plants in Ireland to give a final endorsement.

The beef exports to Japan are expected to be “high value more than high volume” based on “valuable cuts” of meat, Mr Kenny said after arriving in Tokyo yesterday.

Ireland exported €36.2m of Irish food and beverages to Japan in 2012. Pork accounted for 40% of exports, dairy 22%, seafood 18%, and beverages 16%.


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