Press Release

12 March 2021

 The Minister of State with responsibility for new market development, Martin Heydon T.D., today announced that agreement has been reached with the Japanese authorities on the export of Irish minced meat and meat preparations.

Following the conclusion of negotiations between his officials and their counterparts in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Minister Heydon said that,

I am pleased to announce that we have successfully modified the terms of the export health certificate for beef to allow for the export of minced meat and beef burgers to Japan.

This expansion of beef access follows on from the removal of the age restriction on beef exports secured in May 2019 when beef from cattle of all ages became eligible for export to Japan.

Speaking about the latest developments the Minister stated,

This good news for Irish beef exports reflects the cordial and productive relationships that have been developed  with official and trade contacts since the appointment of an agricultural attaché in the Irish Embassy in Tokyo in 2019 and the placement of a Bord Bia Market specialist in Japan.

Irish agri-food exports to Japan were worth more than €147 million in 2020, an increase of €14.6 million or 11% since 2019. The European trade agreement with Japan, which entered into force on 1 February 2019 as the largest open trade zone in the world, provides an excellent opportunity to expand food and drink trade with Japan.

Irish beef exports to Japan increased from 2,323, tonnes in 2019 to 4,120 tonnes in 2020, growing in value from €9.5 million to €15.7 million in the same period. The majority of this was in the form of bovine tongues, a delicacy in Japan, and other beef offal. The agreement of access for Irish minced meat and burgers to Japan should help Ireland increase sales due to the ease of shipping those products by sea and Ireland’s reputation as a supplier of beef burgers in the foodservice channel.

Concluding Minister Heydon noted that

Enhancing access to existing markets is as important as opening new markets in maximising the potential of Irish beef exports for the benefit of all stakeholders in the sector.

A trader notice advising industry of the new arrangements is expected to issue soon and the DAFM market access web portal will be updated also: www.marketaccess.agriculture.gov.ie.