Exports of Canadian beef to Japan continue to gain ground

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Source: Canadian Cattlemen’s Association

Exports of Canadian beef to Japan continue to gain traction under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Statistics Canada data (Jan-May 2019) indicates a significant increase of Canadian beef exports to Japan with volume up 77 per cent to 18,554 metric tonnes and up 87 per cent in value to CDN$132 million compared with the same period last year.

And while it’s too soon to quantify the impact of Japan’s decision in May to lift its over 30-month (OTM) age restriction for beef exports, the CCA anticipates exports will increase further still under the expanded access to the Japanese market for this product.

The CCA continues to monitor the uptake of Canadian beef in Japan with a goal to establish a clear and statistically valid trend. There are numerous factors to watch, such as seasonality and the buying behavior of Japanese importers under CPTPP.  On the OTM side, the first export data reported will be for June and, once released, it’s anticipated exports may be impacted by factors like soft market prices for cows.

It takes time to determine demand versus a trend in new markets. For example, initial Japanese import statistics for January 2019 indicated positive volume gains – more than triple the volume of December 2018.

In February, significantly less Canadian beef and offal went to Japan than in January. The difference in data between January and February suggests importers held back product until the CPTPP came into force in January to get the lower tariffs, thus lowering the figures for December 2018 and raising them in January 2019.

The CCA will follow this market development with interest.

The CPTPP agreement was implemented on December 30, 2018. On April 1, 2019 the second round of tariff cuts came into effect lowering the tariff to 26.6 per cent on both Canadian fresh and frozen beef and further cuts will continue over the next several years.

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