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Japan opens its market to UK poultry

The UK has secured market access to Japan for imports of UK poultry meat, opening up new opportunities for UK farmers, producers and exporters in the world’s third largest economy. The agreement is estimated to be worth up to £13 million per year by the industry.

Japan is renowned internationally for its stringent food safety and import control regime, as well as for its taste for high-quality, varied cuts of meats. The opening of this market for UK fresh and cooked poultry products demonstrates the high standards of UK poultry production methods. With consumption of poultry on the rise in Japan and its focus on reliable, attractive new products, this market is now on track to become a significant and promising new target for UK poultry meat exporters.

The market opening follows a series of complex negotiations over the last 4 years between the UK and Japanese officials to agree specific animal health requirements. Photo: Mark Pasveer
The market opening follows a series of complex negotiations over the last 4 years between the UK and Japanese officials to agree specific animal health requirements. Photo: Mark Pasveer

Enjoy British poultry

Victoria Prentis, UK Food Minister, said the deal meant that Japanese consumers could now enjoy British poultry as well as beef, lamb, and pork: “Our high-quality poultry with its exceptional flavour is renowned around the world, as are the high standards of food safety and animal welfare demonstrated by farmers and producers across the UK. “We are working hard to open new markets for our agri-food businesses, and this is a significant opportunity for the UK poultry sector. The market opening follows a series of complex negotiations over the last 4 years between the UK and Japanese officials to agree specific animal health requirements. Benefits of this development will be felt across the supply chain throughout the UK and will open up new opportunities for British farmers.”

Ranil Jayawardena, UK Minister for International Trade, added: “This is fantastic news for farmers and food producers across the whole of the United Kingdom who can now take advantage of this new market and export poultry meat to Japan – the world’s third largest economy – for the first time.”

Tariff reductions granted

The International Meat Trade Association CEO Katie Doherty said the announcement meant that IMTA members and other UK exporters could take advantage of the tariff reductions granted by the UK-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement. “The agreement reduces tariffs on frozen chicken cuts from an average of 10% to 0 over a number of years. Without the market access Defra has negotiated, UK exporters would not have been able to benefit from these tariff reductions which the government worked to secure. This could not have been achieved without the hard work of civil servants and government, in partnership with the UK poultry industry, so our sincere thanks goes to all those involved. We look forward to continuing to work on opening more new markets for UK exporters.”

Welcomed

The British Poultry Council Chief Executive, Richard Griffiths welcomed the deal: “Our industry has worked closely with Government to open doors and create new opportunities for British poultry meat businesses that produce safe, affordable and nutritious food to world-class standards. We look forward to carrying on pursuing new markets to continue putting UK poultry meat on every table around the world.” In October 2020, the UK and Japan signed the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), and the agreement is now in force.

UK and Japan agreement on trade of poultry meat
Poultry meat from the UK can now be served on Japanese plates with industry estimates predicting this will boost the industry by up to £65 million (US$ 90 million) over 5 years, according to the UK government. Find out more...

The agreement ensures UK businesses could benefit from tariff-free trade on 99% of UK goods exports to Japan after a number of years. Government analysis shows that a deal with Japan could deliver a £1.5 billion boost to the UK economy and increase UK workers’ wages by £800 million in the long run, compared with a situation where the UK does not have an agreement with Japan. The agreement of Animal Health Requirements (AHR) between Defra and the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (JMAFF) for export of both fresh and cooked poultry meat was concluded in May. This led to the agreement of the export health certificate and final opening of the market last month.