Irish beef producers may benefit from the EU/Japan trade deal

A free trade agreement between the European Union and Japan is expected to be finalised later today and its outcome could have a positive impact on the Irish beef market.

The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, and the European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, are expected to sign the agreement.

Beef exported from the EU, including Ireland, is currently subjected to tariffs of approximately 38.5%. However, these tariffs could be reduced significantly if an agreement is reached between both parties.

Japan is the EU’s second largest trading partner in Asia and supplying beef into this market at lower tariff rates could potentially make it more attractive to EU-based exporters.

As it stands, the United States and Australia account for 90% of all Japanese beef imports.

Speaking to dairy farmers at Tuesday’s Moorepark ’17 event, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, said he expects an announcement to be made on the EU/Japan trade deal before the end of the week.

It will provide a substantial quota for carcass equivalent beef, which is effectively an Irish quota because nobody else [in the EU] exports this.

Minister Creed added: “We are looking at new market opportunities which can leverage the best price for producers by virtue of the fact that there are more market places open.”

Speaking following the last round of talks between Japanese and European officials, the European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmstrom, said: “An ambitious EU-Japan deal would send a powerful signal to the rest of the world that two of the largest economies are resisting protectionism, in favour of openness, trade and investment.

“These are the best tools to harness and shape globalisation and create more economic growth and jobs.”

EU exports to Japan could grow significantly by having a trade agreement in place, providing opportunities for the EU agricultural and food sector.