TOKYO, May 30 — Australia has lifted a 17-year ban on beef imports from Japan which could boost Japanese exports to the lucrative meat market.
Shipments of eligible Japanese beef have been allowed to enter Australia without any age limit conditions, the Japanese agriculture ministry said on May 29.
Australia banned import of Japanese beef in 2001 due to an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad cow disease, in Japan.
Tokyo had been pressing Canberra since then for resumption of beef exports, and the two discussed food safety conditions for imports.
Australia’s lifting the import ban is a critical step to boost Japanese beef exports, as Australians have high incomes and consume more beef per person than the Japanese. As of October last year, there were some 2,000 Japanese restaurants in Australia.
Still, New Zealand and Vanuatsu have the import ban in place.
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 rose 4% to 19.2 billion yen in 2017 from a year earlier, following resumption of beef exports to Taiwan and the EU.