Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD, today (Wednesday) had Government-to-Government meetings with his Japanese counterparts in Tokyo, as part of the Minister’s agri-food trade mission to Japan and South East Asia.
Minister McConalogue met with Mr Tetsuro Nomura, Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and separately with Mr Katsunobu Kato, Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, to discuss a range of issues of mutual concern, as well as opportunities for further cooperation.
Minister McConalogue commented:
“The joint leaders’ statement signed by Taoiseach Micheál Martin with Prime Minister Kishida during his visit to Japan last month reflects the depth of the bilateral relationship between our two countries.
“I was very pleased to meet Minister Nomura and Minister Kato, to congratulate each of them on their recent appointments to these key Ministries; to outline our Food Vision 2030 ambition for Ireland to be a world leader in sustainable food systems; and to explore opportunities for future collaboration, particularly in the field of research and innovation.
“In terms of meat market access, my Department has engaged in detail with the Japanese authorities over recent years, including locating an agricultural attaché in the Embassy of Ireland in Tokyo. This effort is now paying off – we have market access to Japan for pigmeat; our beef market access was further enhanced last year to include minced meat and burgers; and market access for sheepmeat was achieved in 2019.
“Today, I also raised Ireland’s application for market access for poultry meat, which is currently at desktop review stage, and which I hope will be progressed in the time ahead.
“Japan sets high standards for food imports, and meeting these exacting requirements is an endorsement of the animal health, welfare and food safety controls systems enforced by my Department as the competent authority certifying meat exports.
“Irish food companies can now avail of these new market opportunities, with support and guidance from Bord Bia, and I look forward to engaging with more of the established and potential trade customers for high quality Irish meat in Japan in the coming days.
“Japan and Ireland have many cultural connections especially around our deep respect for our farm families as well as our love of high-quality food. Ireland and our world-class food sector is well-placed to deliver safe and sustainable food exports to Japan in the time ahead.”
The Japanese leg of the Trade Mission continues until Friday, as the Minister, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine officials and Bord Bia officials engage with key stakeholders and important commercial partners in the Japanese food industry, in top-to-top business meetings as well as a series of technical seminars to explain Ireland’s quality, Origin Green-verified, food and drink offering.
Michael Murphy, Interim CEO Bord Bia commented:
“Evidence from Bord Bia’s last trade mission in 2019, our market prioritisation study and the growth of exports to Japan over the last three years has confirmed that Japan is a high-potential growth market for Irish food and drink. Since opening Bord Bia’s Tokyo office in 2019, Bord Bia has expanded and added additional resources on the ground in Japan to ensure we are supporting our customers and clients and helping to build strategic partnerships and expand Ireland’s global footprint in the Irish agri-food sector.
“This trade mission also highlights the partnership between Martin Ryan, the agricultural attaché in the Irish Embassy, and Bord Bia’s Japan manager, Joe Moore, and Ireland’s ongoing commitment to developing sustainable business relationships for our industry in Japan”.
Minister McConalogue concluded: “I thank the Irish Ambassador to Japan, Damien Cole, my Department’s agricultural attaché in the Embassy, Martin Ryan, and Bord Bia Japan manager, Joe Moore, together with their teams, for the important work involved in delivering a series of impactful engagements here in Tokyo.”