Despite recession Japan holds strong for Australian beef

Posted by James Ferre on 20th November 2008

Japan is proving to be a safe haven for Australian beef exports, with the volume of red meat being sent to that market holding firm amid the current global financial turmoil.Beef exports to Australia’s biggest beef export market remain at similar levels to those of a year ago, before the financial crisis hit.

Year to date exports of Australian beef to Japan have totalled 305,774 tonnes, down just three percent compared to 314,493 tonnes exported in the same period last year.

Meat & Livestock Australia’s Managing Director David Palmer, who is currently in Japan, said that Australian beef exports to Japan have held up remarkably well in recent months. “The Japanese market for Australian beef has shown remarkable resilience throughout this unprecedented period of financial uncertainty,” he said. “Japan will remain a valuable market for Australia in the years ahead and I am confident that Australian exports will hold firm in the coming months as we ride out this perfect storm in financial markets.”

MLA’s Chairman, Don Heatley and Mr Palmer are in Japan this week promoting the safety and integrity of Australian beef and lamb to key Japanese industry representatives. They are taking part in the MLA-run Aussie Forums, which are being held in Osaka and Tokyo.

The Forums explain Australia’s current red meat supply situation and also provide an overview of Australia’s safety, livestock quality and traceability systems.

Attendees at the Forums include importers, wholesalers, retailers, butchers, chefs, foodservice representatives and media. Tuesday’s Osaka forum attracted 300 attendees, while it is expected today’s Tokyo forum will attract nearly 600 attendees.

Mr Heatley said it was important the Australian industry continually reinforced the safety and integrity of Australian red meat to those purchasing, promoting and selling Australian red meat in Japan.

“Comprehensive industry-wide programs such as NLIS and LPA are vitally important in underpinning the safety and integrity claims we make to our global customers,” Mr Heatley advised. “We recognise the importance of food safety and integrity to Japanese consumers so we must remain ever vigilant to ensure our products continue to meet their exacting standards.”