Japan and Uruguay agree to export beef each other

TOKYO, Dec. 1 ― Japan and Uruguay, the world’s No. 7 beef exporter, have agreed to lift bans each other’s beef imports, which could boost competition in Japan’s lucrative beef market.

Shipments of eligible Japanese beef is now allowed to enter Uruguay without any age limit conditions, the Japanese agriculture ministry said on Nov. 30.

Japan banned beef imports from Uruguay in 2000 due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Since then, Uruguay used massive vaccination.

In 2003, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) declared Uruguay as free of FMD with vaccination, opening new export prospects for the South American country.

Still, Japan was the only major importing market closed to Uruguay beef. Uruguay was in talks with Tokyo, and the animal sanitary services of the two countries were working closely on food safety conditions to allow beef trade.

Resumption of Uruguay’s beef imports means that Uruguay became the first country to export beef to Japan being FMD-free with vaccination.

Japanese producers are now facing increased competition for their dairy beef.

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