News from Brussels this week that the trade agreement between Japan and the EU will be signed in July and take effect from early 2019 is welcome news for Irish farmers. Japan is a huge net importer of agri produce and Ireland is already well established there with pigmeat and dairy. Beef business has been slow to rebuild after the BSE ban, with the 38.5% tariff in itself being quite a barrier.

Once the deal comes into effect, that will be progressively reduced over 10 years to 9%. Like China, the Japanese market has a stipulation that beef from Ireland must be under 30 months but despite that it is likely that significant business can develop.