Restrictions on beef exports bound for Macao lifted

TOKYO, June 3 – Restrictions for beef which can be exported to Macao will be lifted from June 8, the agriculture ministry announced on June 2.

The government hopes the lifting of the restrictions, which limits exports of beef to Macao to boneless meat from cattle aged less than 30 months, will help further boost beef exports to the city which has recently been on the rise in terms of value.

Meanwhile, despite Japan’s strong hopes to export beef to China, negotiations on conditions for shipments to the country have not been progressing although China decided in December to resume beef imports from Japan.

Macao conditionally lifted its ban on Japanese beef imports in 2009. Japan’s beef exports to Macao in 2019 totaled 781 million yen, up 10 percent from a year before, topping the list of Japanese farm produce and food products shipped to the city.

Japan has been negotiating with Macao authorities since 2013 to lift the conditions of limiting beef exports to boneless meat from cattle younger than 30 months. The Japanese government estimates that the lifting of the conditions will boost yearly exports by around 70 million yen.

“This will be a tailwind for Japan’s beef exports,” farm minister Taku Eto said at a regular news conference on June 2.

As Japan aims to raise beef production and expand beef exports, the government’s main focus is to resume exports to China. China decided to resume imports of Japanese beef which had been halted since the outbreak of mad cow disease in Japan in 2001, but restricted shipments to boneless meat from cattle under 30 months.

Moreover, in order to actually start exporting, it is necessary to set hygiene requirements and register designated exporting facilities.

In April, the agriculture ministry set up the farm produce and food export task force to lead the government’s efforts to boost exports, and its key challenge will be to accelerate negotiations with China on resumption of beef exports.

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