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The last of Japan’s import restrictions on Canadian beef and beef products stemming from the BSE crisis has been lifted, allowing access for Canadian further-processed beef.
Canada’s federal agriculture department announced Monday that Japan has reopened to imports of “processed” Canadian beef — just days ahead of a significant reduction in Japan’s tariffs on imports of Canadian beef under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade pact.
“Our members view this as a critical market for their products, including processed beef and beef patties,” Chris White, CEO of the Canadian Meat Council, said in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s release Monday.
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“This agreement will allow our industry to further build on the recent successes they have enjoyed in Japan since the CPTPP was ratified.”
Nathan Phinney, president of the Canadian Cattle Association, said in a separate release Monday producers are “grateful for the re-opening for processed beef in Japan, our second largest export market for beef.”
Japan’s decision concludes another plot thread in the story of Canada’s BSE crisis. Japan had closed its ports entirely to Canadian beef in 2003, upon Canada’s first finding of a domestic cow with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Canada in 2021 regained “negligible risk” status for BSE from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
Japan reopened to imports of Canadian beef from cattle 20 months of age or younger in 2005, to beef from cattle 30 months or younger (UTMs) in 2013, and to beef from cattle over 30 months old (OTMs) in 2019.
Under the CPTPP — in force since the end of 2018 for Canada and Japan as well as Australia, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore, as the first six of the 11 member countries to ratify that deal — Canada has since had preferential market access to Japan that has allowed it to build its eligible beef exports up to an amount the CCA pegged at $518 million in 2022.
Japan levies a 38.5 per cent tariff on beef imports, including on primary processed beef products. For Canada, however, the beef tariff has decreased since the CPTPP came into force and, starting Saturday (April 1), drops again to 23.35 per cent, en route down to nine per cent by 2033.
Tariffs on further-processed beef products “will be reduced even more and in some cases eliminated altogether,” AAFC said Monday, reiterating that the reduction “provides Canadian exporters with a clear tariff advantage over our key competitors.”
The value of beef in Japan has also increased, rising from $6.74 per kilogram in 2020 to $7.76/kg in 2022, the CCA said Monday.
Japan, and the larger Indo-Pacific region, “hold the greatest potential for beef export diversification” for Canada, the CCA added.
The federal government late last year launched its Indo-Pacific strategy, through which it says it plans to boost economic opportunities for Canada by strengthening partnerships in the region such as with Japan.
The strategy also calls for the establishment of Canada’s first dedicated agriculture and agri-food office in the region, at an as-yet unannounced location. — Glacier FarmMedia Network