Japan’s beef exports closer to Chinese market amid growing meat demand

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/26 20:38:41

Japan’s beef exports closer to Chinese market as meat demand rises

Pork sits on display at a counter on Monday at a Wal-Mart supermarket in Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province. Photo: CFP

More global meat exporters will benefit from China's growing middle class and meat demand, with Japan likely to become the latest beneficiary.

Japan's beef exports to China moved one step closer to resumption after 19 years of suspension, as the two sides concluded an agreement on animal health and quarantine, according to a report by Reuters on Monday, citing Japan's foreign minister. 

Japan's exports of beef to China have been banned since 2001 due to an outbreak of mad cow disease. 

Apart from Japan, several meat exporters are expecting more shipments to China with its long-term growth in demand. Earlier this month, China lifted the ban on US poultry imports, allowing 172 US poultry plants to exports meat. A ban was imposed in 2015 due to avian influenza concerns. 

Norway is also reported to have started negotiations on pork exports to China. 

Experts said the increasing exports of meat can help lift some pressure on China's tight supply of pork caused by African swine fever. But in the long term, more quality meat is expected to be exported to China, as demand grows among Chinese customers, notably the middle class. 

"It can be said that the pig disease has boosted demand for protein imports, but in the long term the Chinese market is becoming ever so attractive because it's been gaining value," Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The rising middle class and their increasing demand for more quality meat products have pushed up global interest in the market, and have rendered China an important stake holder in the international meat market, Bai said. 

In 2018, China imported about 1 million tons of beef, increasing 21.12 percent year-on-year, according to statistics from China Customs. By 2026, beef imports are expected to reach 1.22 million tons, according to a report by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. 

"China has replaced the US to be the world's largest beef importer, and its demand is altering global beef flows and prices," Bai said. "The growing demand for meat in China is driven by an increase in incomes and the rise of the middle class, and it has begun to dominate the global trade," 

Major meat exporters in the world are shifting a significant share of their total exports to China. Uruguay, which is the sixth-largest beef exporter in the world, is now shipping about 59 percent of its overall beef exports to China, increasing from 46 percent last year. Uruguay is among China's top three beef providers.

"We are still looking to strengthen our presence in China's growing meat market," Uruguayan Ambassador to China Fernando Lugris told the Global Times. "Chinese customers have a rising demand for good beef on their tables, and Uruguayan companies are very proud to present them with their high-quality products."

Newspaper headline: Japan’s beef exports closer to Chinese market as meat demand rises

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