Malaysia lifts 7-year ban on Japanese beef imports

TOKYO, Nov. 8 — Malaysia has lifted a 7-year ban on beef imports from Japan which could boost Japanese exports to Muslim markets.

Shipments of eligible Japanese beef have been allowed to enter Malaysia since Nov. 7 without any age limit conditions, the Japanese agriculture ministry said.

Japanese cattle producers need to comply with Malaysian halal standards. Slaughterhouses in Kumamoto and Tokushima prefectures have been certified as halal compliant by the Malaysian Muslim authority.

In 2010, Malaysia banned import of Japanese beef due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Japan.

Tokyo had requested Malaysia to lift the ban, and the two discussed food safety conditions for imports.

Lifting the import ban was the critical first step for resuming Japanese beef exports to Malaysia, as it helps Tokyo to expand shipments in Muslim countries.

According to the ministry, there are six plants certified to produce halal meat and this applies to 5 Muslim-majority countries: Malaysia, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain.

Japanese beef is seen as a key agricultural export, so the government considers market access progress on beef would generally expand export opportunities for Japanese agriculture producers.

Japan’s total beef exports in 2016 were 2,000 tons, valued at 13.6 billion yen.

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