November 21, 2019


Japan close to restarting export of beef to China after two decades


Japan is in the final stage of talks with China to resume exports of beef to the world's most populous market for the first time in about two decades, government sources said on November 21.

Japan is hoping to resume its exports next year, the sources said. Beijing has banned beef imports from Japan since the first case of mad cow disease was detected in the country in 2001.

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi are expected to sign a pact on animal health and quarantine, which will serve as a precondition for the resumption, during a meeting that is likely to take place on November 25.

Wang is scheduled to visit Japan for a two-day meeting of Group of 20 foreign ministers in Nagoya on November 22.

In China, beef consumption has been on the rise, especially among high-income households.

In recent years, wagyu beef, known for its tenderness and marbled fat, has been gaining popularity overseas. Japan's overall beef exports increased to ¥24.7 billion (US$227.5 million) in 2018, up from ¥3.4 billion (US$31.3 million) in 2010.

Japan and China broadly agreed during their high-level economic dialogue in April on the quarantine pact, paving the way for Beijing's lifting of the ban.

The course set for the resumption is seen as a sign of improving ties between the world's second- and third-largest economies, whose ties were chilly until several years ago over wartime and territorial issues.

- Kyodo / The Japan Times