After 15 years, Japan lifted an embargo on Italian beef, following an earlier opening of its market to beef products from other EU Member States (France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Denmark and Sweden).
According to Commissioners Vytenis Andriukaitis, Cecilia Malmström and Phil Hogan, responsible respectively for food safety, trade and agriculture, "The fact that Japan continues to approve beef exports from EU Member States is a great success of the European trade diplomacy. All Commission services, together with the EU Delegation to Japan, have been working towards opening of the Japanese market for EU beef and beef products from all EU countries interested in exports. We look forward to seeing Japan opening its market to beef from the rest of the EU in the near future."
Japan introduced an import ban on beef from the EU in 2001, referring to an alleged risk of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). This measure went beyond the international standards set by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and did not take into account the stringent control and surveillance measures in place in the European Union guaranteeing the safety of European beef and beef products.
This decision sends an encouraging signal to the remaining EU Member States that have applied to export beef to Japan, and whose equally high level of food safety has been internationally recognised by the World Organisation for Animal health (OIE).
Exports of beef and beef products from the EU to Japan resumed in 2013. The exports from the Member States were worth €4,7 million in 2015.