Bord Bia unveils third Asian office in Tokyo

Bord Bia has opened a new office in Tokyo, Japan, its third office in Asia – bringing to 14 the number of international offices it has promoting the Irish food and drinks industry overseas.

Through its ‘Prioritising Markets – Opportunities for Growth’ study, Bord Bia has identified Japan as being in the top five priority markets for Irish food and drink exports.

JEEPA

Combined with the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (JEEPA), which entered in force on February 1 last, Ireland’s food and drink exporters are “now in a more competitive position in a market that places a value on the highest quality and safety standards”, according to the Irish food board.

JEEPA will remove the vast majority of the €1 billion in duties paid annually by EU companies exporting to Japan – with particular advantages for agri-food exports, namely pork, dairy and beef – creating the world’s largest free trade area.

JEEPA will see Japan remove its tariffs of up to 30% on cheese, up to 20% on pork and 15% on wine, phased out over 10 years.

Signed at the EU-Japan Summit in Tokyo in July 2018, the agreement is the biggest and most advanced bilateral trade deal ever negotiated by the EU, covering 600 million people and a third of global GDP.

Industry ambition

Speaking in Tokyo on day two of the Government’s trade mission to Japan and South Korea, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, said the opening of the office in Tokyo is testament to the Government’s ambition to meet the targets set out in FoodWise 2025 to grow the Irish food exports.

“The opening of Bord Bia’s new office, co-located in the Irish Embassy in Tokyo, supports our industry’s ambition for Japan and the wider potential of the Asia region forecast by Foodwise 2025,” said Minister Creed.

“Evidence from our trade mission in 2017, our market prioritisation study and further engagement with the market has confirmed this potential and underpinned our ongoing commitment to developing sustainable business relationships for our industry.

Having a presence in the market is the logical next step in this strategy and we welcome this new addition to Ireland’s global footprint in the Irish agri-food sector.

“I am also very pleased that the first agricultural attaché will join the embassy team in Tokyo later this year, as part of my department’s commitment to the Government’s ‘Global Ireland’ strategy.”

Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy, said: “Japan, as one of the world’s largest meat and dairy importers, offers huge growth potential at a time when our food and drink industry is energised in unlocking potential in diverse locations.

“Origin Green, our unique and holistic response to making Ireland’s food and drink a leader of sustainability, will be a most powerful tool of differentiation in this highly developed market of discerning consumers who care where their food comes from.”

Japan is currently Ireland’s fourth largest market for both pork and cheddar, while it remains a valuable and increasingly important market destination for Irish beef offal, seafood and a priority future market for Irish whiskey and other spirits.

McCarthy added: “Exports to Japan itself have been growing steadily since 2008; from €25 million then to almost €115 million in 2018.

“While growth was dominated by pigmeat and dairy, the range of products extends to beef, seafood, prepared consumer foods and alcohol.”

South and East Asia HQ

Bord Bia’s new Tokyo office falls under the remit of Bord Bia’s South and East Asia headquarters based in Singapore.

This office, established in 2016, focuses on the markets of Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Korea and Japan.