Irish meat, dairy and food products have a highly rated and hard earned reputation in terms of quality, safety, animal welfare and sustainability all over the world. My officials continue to work towards opening and enhancing access to as many markets as possible.
The Japanese market has been open to exports of beef from Ireland since December 2013. Trade has built up slowly and consists mainly of frozen beef offal, tongues in particular. Figures from CSO indicate exports of around €3.6 million or 842 tonnes in 2018. The Japanese audit in relation to the lifting of the 30 month ban on the export of Irish beef took place in March 2019. The audit team indicated that all plants visited were being operated to a high standard. The 30 month ban was subsequently lifted with effect from May 17th 2019. This a significant achievement for Ireland and it is expected to give rise to an increase in beef exports to Japan.
My Department has written to the Japanese authorities formally seeking market access for sheepmeat. Detailed documentation has been submitted and reviewed by the Japanese authorities. Earlier this month my officials submitted further documentation, including a revised Draft Animal Health Regulations (AHR), Export Verification programme (EVP) and Proposed Draft Veterinary Health Certificate. Progressing sheepmeat access will be a focus during my forthcoming trade mission to Japan in week commencing 10 June, but, of course, timelines for market access for any product remain a matter for the Japanese authorities.
Ireland has access to the Japanese market for pigmeat with exports of 14,805 tonnes valued at €41.364m in 2018. There are no particular market access issues at present. Exports can only take place from establishments approved by my Department and recommended to the Japanese authorities as meeting the requirements for export of pigmeat to that country.
Further details of Ireland's access to third country markets can be found on my Department's dedicated market access portal: