Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has pushed for further beef market access and poultry meat access for Japan in meetings on Wednesday with the country’s Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Tetsuro Nomura.

Minister McConalogue says negotiations for Irish poultry meat access to the substantial Japanese market are at desktop stage and explained how they follow the market access for Irish sheepmeat, pigmeat and beef mince and burgers already secured.

“In terms of meat market access, my Department has engaged in detail with the Japanese authorities over recent years, including locating an agricultural attaché in the Embassy of Ireland in Tokyo,” the Minister said.

Minister McConalogue also met with Japan’s Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Mr Katsunobu Kato as part of Bord Bia’s ongoing trade mission to south east Asia.

The Japanese leg of the trade mission continues until Friday, as the Minister, Department of Agriculture officials and Bord Bia officials engage with key stakeholders and commercial partners in the Japanese food industry. The Minister will later travel to Singapore to further Irish food prospects there.

Bilateral relationship

The Minister said that in the meetings held on Wednesday with both of the Japanese ministers, he outlined Ireland’s Food Vision 2030 and the country’s ambition to be a world leader in sustainable food systems.

He also said the opportunities for future collaboration between Ireland and Japan, particularly in the field of research and innovation, were also discussed.

“Japan sets high standards for food imports, and meeting these exacting requirements is an endorsement of the animal health, welfare and food safety controls systems enforced by my Department as the competent authority certifying meat exports.

“Irish food companies can now avail of these new market opportunities, with support and guidance from Bord Bia, and I look forward to engaging with more of the established and potential trade customers for high-quality Irish meat in Japan in the coming days,” he said.

Farm families

Minister McConalogue compared Ireland and Japan’s “cultural connections” and said these are evident in both country’s “deep respect for our farm families as well as our love of high-quality food”.

“Ireland and our world-class food sector is well-placed to deliver safe and sustainable food exports to Japan in the time ahead,” he said.

Interim Bord Bia CEO Michael Murphy said: “Evidence from Bord Bia’s last trade mission in 2019, our market prioritisation study and the growth of exports to Japan over the last three years has confirmed that Japan is a high-potential growth market for Irish food and drink.

“This trade mission also highlights the partnership between Martin Ryan, the agricultural attaché in the Irish Embassy, and Bord Bia’s Japan manager, Joe Moore, and Ireland’s ongoing commitment to developing sustainable business relationships for our industry in Japan.”