Japan's Demand For Pork Increases, UK Begins Exports Post

by 5m Editor
8 May 2004, at 12:00am

UK - Several U.K. exporters have begun sending pork to Japan in recent weeks amidst increasing demand for the meat as disease bans against Asia and North American countries have reduced the demand for poultry and beef, industry sources said.

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Japan recognized the U.K. as foot-and-mouth disease free in October 2003, nearly 18-months after the disease outbreak ended, and approved the U.K.'s health certificates for pork in December.

"Several export companies are being approved to export pork to Japan," said Peter Walker, veterinary advisor and export strategist for the U.K.'s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

"The approvals (from Japan) took a while in coming, but there was light at the end of the tunnel," Walker said.

The U.K. sees Japan as a priority market for a number of commodities, primarily breeding pigs, pork, and pig and cattle genetics, said Defra's deputy chief veterinary officer Fred Landeg.

"We are working towards getting agreement for breeding pigs, (cattle) embryos, and also (cattle and pig) semen in the near future," said Landeg.

Walker said the U.K. has sent a live pig health certificate proposal to Japan, which came back with relatively minor changes. The U.K. response was sent recently and he hopes approval will be completed shortly.

Before the foot-and mouth outbreak, U.K. pork exports to Japan were as high as 11,000 metric tons annually, said the Meat and Livestock Commission's Peter Hardwick in Brussels.

"Though we're looking at much less than that in the short term, closer to 5,000 to 6,000 tons, the return from Japan is much better than any other export market," said Hardwick. "The best price for pork is the U.K. retain trade and Japan comes right after that," he said.

In the past, Japan accounted for roughly 10% of U.K. pork exports but 20% of its value. Hardwick expects near-term business to Japan to be roughly 5% of exports but 10% of its value.

"We're watching Japanese demand very closely," Hardwick said. "The avian flu has reduced demand significantly for poultry and the BSE cases (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad-cow disease) in the U.S. and Canada have affected demand for beef. Demand for pig meat is extremely high."

In 2002, the U.K. exported roughly 95,000 tons of pork. Main exports go to France, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, the U.S., and more recently to South Korea, Hardwick said.

Source: eFeedLink - 6th May 2004

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