Joint press release - French beef gains wider access to Japanese market (7 August 2020)


Joint Press Release issued by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food

Japan has today officially lifted all the health restrictions which still applied to the export of French beef to that country.

At the beginning of the 2000s, following the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, so-called mad cow disease) crisis which hit several European Union member States, Japan, like many other States, imposed an embargo on beef from European countries, including France.

In May 2008, acknowledging the effectiveness of the measures deployed to prevent and control the disease, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) granted France the status of a country with “controlled BSE risk”.

In 2013, after several years of negotiations between Tokyo and Paris, Japan re-authorized imports of meat from bovine animals less than 30 years old only.
A final round of negotiations has just resulted in the complete lifting of the Japanese embargo.

This result presents new trading opportunities for the French beef industry. It can now export meat with no age limit, including minced meat, to Japan.
This goal has also been achieved in the context of the implementation of the Franco-Japanese exceptional partnership’s road map for the period 2019-2023, approved during the President of the Republic’s visit to Japan in June 2019.

Finally, the French beef industry’s market in Japan will also benefit from the progress in the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement: since it came into force in February 2019, customs duties for French and European beef imported into Japan have already significantly decreased, and this decrease is set to continue in the coming years.

For Julien Denormandie, Minister of Agriculture and Food:

This success testifies to the excellence of the French and European health system in relation to food products, which has once again been recognized by foreign authorities. This agreement again offers new opportunities to create value for our livestock farmers and exporters.

For Franck Riester, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness:

This good news for our beef industry is the result of active efforts by all the State services since the French President’s visit to Japan in June 2019, during which this goal was set out as a priority. Concurrently, significant customs duties imposed by Japan on our beef exports have been gradually reduced by the trade agreement between the EU and Japan, which came into force in February 2019. All the conditions now exist to ensure French businesses can grasp this opportunity to export more to that country, which is also committed to the quality of our national output.

Press contacts

Press office of M. Julien Denormandie
Tel: 01 49 55 59 74
cab-presse.agriculture at

Press office of M. Franck Riester
Tel: 06 18 37 88 44
benedicte.constans at