Bord Bia has opened a new office in Tokyo, its third office in Asia and its 14th international office promoting the Irish food and drinks industry overseas.
Japan is one of the top five priority markets for Irish food and drink exports for Bord Bia in the coming years.
It aims to use its Japanese base to help Irish exporters and producers to build their market share.
The new office, and the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (JEEPA), in place since 1 February 2019, gives Ireland’s food and drink exporters a more competitive edge in a market that places a very high value on quality and safety standards.
JEEPA will remove the vast majority of the €1bn in duties paid annually by EU companies exporting to Japan.
This will have particular advantages for agri-food exports, namely pork, dairy and beef, creating the world’s largest free trade area.
Having a presence in the market is the logical next step
Speaking in Tokyo, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said the new Bord Bia office, co-located in the Irish Embassy in Tokyo, supports Ireland’s ambition for Japan and the wider potential of the Asia region forecast by Foodwise 2025.
“Having a presence in the market is the logical next step in this strategy and we welcome this new addition to Ireland’s global footprint in the Irish agri-food sector.
“I am also very pleased that the first agricultural attaché will join the embassy team in Tokyo later this year, as part of my Department’s commitment to the Government’s ‘Global Ireland’ strategy.”
Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy said the development should pay handsome dividends in the coming years as Bord Bia builds new contacts, gathers market and consumer insight and assists companies to find new customers and to explore new opportunities in the region.
She added that the office is opening just three months ahead of the Rugby World Cup, when Ireland’s profile will be significantly raised in Japan.
“Origin Green, our unique and holistic response to making Ireland’s food and drink a leader of sustainability, will be a most powerful tool of differentiation in this highly developed market of discerning consumers who care where their food comes from,” McCarthy said.
Joe Moore has been appointed as Bord Bia market specialist for Japan and Korea.
As part of this role, Moore will visit companies active in the market to understand their strategies, strengthen existing trade contacts and create further opportunities for Irish exporters.
Japan is currently Ireland’s fourth-largest market for both pork and cheddar, and an increasingly important market destination for Irish beef offal and seafood, as well as a priority future market for Irish whiskey and other spirits.
McCarthy added: “Exports to Japan itself have been growing steadily since 2008; from €25m then to almost €115m in 2018.
“While growth was dominated by pigmeat and dairy, the range of products extends to beef, seafood, prepared consumer foods and alcohol.”
In pictures: day one of the Bord Bia trade mission to Japan
Watch: Bord Bia trade mission to Japan and South Korea kicks off in Tokyo
Irish steak selling for €200/kg in Japan