Japanese beef exports to Australia to resume after 17 year halt

May 30, 2018

On May 29th 2018, the Japanese Government, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, announced that it has reached an agreement with the Australian government to resume the export of fresh beef produced in Japan. Beef exports to Australia are banned worldwide, except for New Zealand, Vanuatu, and now, Japan.

Japanese wagyu is known around the world for its high quality and luxurious taste. There are key characteristics to this product. Japanese wagyu has high level traceability and quality assurance, with individual cattle assigned identification numbers that trace its life from birth, breeding/fattening, slaughter, distribution, and retail sale. Wagyu carcasses are objectively assessed for quality as they enter the market place, and graded and certified according to high standards. In terms of its essence and composition, Japanese wagyu is renowned for its lustrous marbling appearance, specific wagyu aroma, and umami-laden, rich, melt in your mouth flavour.

Currently, Japanese beef is exported to many countries around the world. In 2017, the total global export value of Japanese beef was ¥19.1 billion yen (approx. $233m AUD). In 2008 the total global export value of Japanese beef was ¥4.05 billion yen (approx. $49m AUD). This shows an increase of about 470% in less than 10 years. The largest importing countries of Japanese beef in2017 were Hong Kong, Cambodia, America, Taiwan, Singapore, and Thailand. As the Japanese government strives towards reaching its goal of ¥25 billion yen global export value of Japanese beef by 2019, it is expected that the export of Japanese beef to countries like Australia will play an important role.

Mr Ken Saito, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, stated at a news conference on Thursday 29th May, “Australia has beef consumption per capita of 20.9kg, more than 3 times that of Japan, and high income level standards, with a nominal GDP per capita of over $60,000. There are also many Japanese restaurants in urban centres, and increasing Japanese ingredients are available for sale in Japanese and Asian supermarkets. In recent years, the numbers of tourists visiting Japan have been increasing, and the number of people familiar with “Japanese wagyu” has expanded greatly. The foundations for acceptance of Japanese beef have been laid.”

Finally, Minister Saito said, “For business interested in exporting beef, we will make the export procedures known, also, we are interested to promote the features of Japanese wagyu beef, and cooking methods, in the local Australian market”, commenting on the future directions of promotions for Japanese wagyu beef exports.

JETRO Sydney will be hosting a Japanese food event, featuring Japanese wagyu, on the 20th August in Sydney. Guests will include government representatives, restaurant persons, food industry persons, media and influencers. To the business and related persons in these industries, we ask you to save the date, and hope you can join this special event.

Author: Takuya Fujiwara

Translation: Adam Sims