With the final restrictions now lifted, Japan will open its doors to Canadian processed beef for the first time in 20 years.
The federal government made the announcement Monday, ushering in a new era for Canada and its second-largest market for beef and beef products.
“Our government will always stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our ranchers and processors who export the finest and most sustainable products around the world. This is another big step in our trade relationship with Japan, a trusted partner in the Indo-Pacific,” federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in a release.
The expanded market access opportunity follows another loosening of restrictions in 2019, when Japan approved imports of Canadian beef from cattle older than 30 months.
Under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Japan’s 38.5% tariff on beef imports - including primary processed products like ground beef patties - will decrease to 23.35% by April 1, 2023, and will go down to 9% by 2033. Tariffs on further processed beef products will be reduced even more and in some cases – eliminated altogether. This change provides Canadian exporters with a clear tariff advantage over key competitors, the statement said.
Japanese restrictions on Canadian beef were originally put in place following the discovery of Canada’s first home-grown case of BSE back in 2003.
Japan is an important market for Canada and the world. In 2022, the Japanese market for Canadian beef and beef products had an estimated value of $518 million, largely due to Canada’s preferential access under the CPTPP.
Under the new Indo-Pacific Strategy, the government committed to seizing economic opportunities for Canada by strengthening its regional partnerships, including with Japan, today’s statement said. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, with the support of Agriculture Canada, “has worked tirelessly over the past few years to assert the highest production standards and quality assurance of Canadian beef in order to reopen full access in key markets, like Japan,” it said.