China lifts twenty-year ban on Japanese beef imports as it faces meat supply shortage

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China lifted the ban on Japanese deboned beef taken from cows under 30 months old, as notified by the General Administration of Customs. This ends the almost two-decade ban on the beef imports from Japan.

This measure comes as China faces severe shortages on meat supply due to an outbreak of African swine fever disease. The outbreak has caused pork prices at sky-high levels as China’s massive pig herd was decimated.

In the notice issued on December 19, the customs and agriculture ministries said that they lifted the ban to address the shortage after assessing the risks it entailed. However, inspection on the meat imports as well as quarantine requirements would be decided on a separate measure.

China has banned beef imports from Japan for almost two decades since the outbreak of mad-cow disease in 2001.

A separate notice that was also dated on December 19 informed that China will also be allowing Japanese pork imports.

Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan’s Foreign Minister, said that China and Japan have signed a bilateral animal health and quarantine agreement. This was a step toward revamping the import relationship of Japan and China.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is willing to accept China’s decision as his government looks to boost economic growth through agricultural products.

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