Statement by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner Tonio Borg, and Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Dacian Cioloş on the re-opening of the Japanese market for imports of EU beef and beef products since 1 February 2013 and on today's endorsement by Member States to allow beef imports from Japan to the EU
EU News 56/2013
6 February 2013
"We welcome the lifting of the Japanese ban on imports of beef and beef products from France and the Netherlands, since 1 February 2013. This is a positive first step, although it took longer than had been desirable. The Japanese decision sends an encouraging signal to other Member States seeking to apply to export beef to Japan, and whose equally high level of food safety has already been internationally recognised by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The EU is looking forward to seeing this reflected when this welcome opening by Japan will be widened to also include other EU Member States.
This market opening also sends an important signal to the EU's trading partners in the Far East and throughout the world that EU beef is safe, and that imports of EU beef should resume quickly.
As the EU and Japan are preparing for negotiations of a Free Trade Agreement, this decision also shows that non-tariff barriers can be overcome on the Japanese market.
The European Union also welcomes the example that Japan has set by communicating its findings clearly to its citizens and consumers. Responsible communication about any real, rather than imagined, risks associated with trade in food is important
At the same time, we welcome today's endorsement by Member States in the Standing Committee of the Food Chain and Animal Health to allow Japanese exports of beef and beef products to the EU market, which includes exports of sought after products such as “Kobe” beef. The EU internal market has delivered a high level of food safety for consumers in the EU and abroad alike, based on international standards and solid science. The agriculture and food sectors have to be able to capitalize on this achievement."