JAEPA and Japanese domestic beef

24 June 2015

The Economic Partnership Agreement between Japan and Australia, and the subsequent reduction on imported beef tariffs, are not likely to see Japanese retailers make an ‘either-or’ decision between Japanese domestic and Australian beef. Rather, retailers will continue to carry both products, offering the choice to consumers.

According to a survey conducted by Japan’s Agriculture and Livestock Industries Corporation (ALIC) in February this year, 86% of supermarkets reported that they currently carry both Australian beef and kokusan gyu (Japanese dairy steer beef). When asked their intensions for the future, 56% said they will maintain the present volume of Australian products, while 44% wish to sell more.

In regards to stocking Japanese domestic beef in the future, the survey results suggest that 56% of supermarket respondents intend to maintain the current volume, and 33% intends to sell more.

The survey also included butchers/meat specialist stores, which revealed their preference for domestic beef for now and into the future.

Overall, responses were rather positive, however it is uncertain at this stage whether this indicates growth of the beef market in Japan. The weak yen, and strong prices of both Australian and Japanese beef are anticipated to continue, while demand for affordable proteins remains unchanged in the market.

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