Japan imported 818t of pigmeat from Ireland in February in addition to the 937t imported in January. These figures are higher than the corresponding period in 2020 when just 336t were imported from Ireland.

It was the second quarter when volumes picked up and by the end of 2020, Japan had imported 7,459t of pigmeat from Ireland, down 13.4% on previous year.

Trade with Japan was greatly impacted at the beginning of last year with the full impact of COVID-19 felt in Asia from January.

Also, China was a particularly strong buyer of pigmeat at the start of 2020 with a big increase in imports from all suppliers including Ireland

The US and Canada are the biggest suppliers of pig meat to Japan sending 18,099t and 18,053t, respectively, in February. Mexico is the next biggest supplier with 8,928t in February and Denmark the top EU supplier with 4,807t. Japan is the world’s second largest pigmeat importer after China and Hong Kong, taking a total of 891,847t in 2020.

Japan’s beef imports from Ireland fell in February 2021 to just 72t, down from 314t in January. Japan imported a total of 37,331t in February. This was a 10.8% decrease on February 2020. The top two suppliers were the US with 16,719t and Australia with 15,091t. In 2020, Japan imported a total of 600,769t of beef with 2,768t coming from Ireland.

Despite small volumes in February, Japanese imports of Irish beef have been on an upward trend and with a further tariff reduction due in April, trade should continue to increase.