Exports of beef from the UK to Japan were worth £1.78 million in January. This one-month figure is almost a fifth of the total value last year.

According to analysis of Her Majesty's Revenue and Custom's (HRMC's) data by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), 334t of beef were exported to Japan in the first month of the year, which is up 24t from the same period as last year.

Last year (2021) was a strong year for exports of beef to Japan in general, with volumes up 48% compared to the previous year (2020) adding an extra £9.7 million to the sector.

Japan

The AHDB has identified Japan as a key market for the UK's red meat sector, with the country being one of the world's largest beef importers.

Japan imported 585,000t of fresh and frozen beef last year, worth £2.7 billion, the AHDB said.

Japan opened its doors to imports of UK beef in January 2019, following a series of visits and negotiations between UK and Japanese officials, which culminated in an inspection of beef production systems in 2018 – hosted by AHDB, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and wider industry.

AHDB head of Asia Pacific Jonathan Eckley said: “Japan is proving to be an incredibly important market for our beef exports, with January alone bringing a strong financial boost to the UK beef sector.

“AHDB has made Japan one of the key target markets for exports, showcasing the UK’s beef, pork and lamb products to businesses across the country by having a presence at trade shows, such as Foodex earlier this month, and securing agents on the ground to work directly with importers.

“Japan is a complex and competitive market to establish new business and restrictions on international travel as a result of Covid created further challenges for our exporters.

“However, we are confident that AHDB will continue our work in flying the flag in support of the UK’s red meat sectors and building on these already impressive export figures in the year ahead.”