UK poultry exports to Japan secured following market access approval

A new market access deal that will benefit UK farmers, meat processors and exporters has secured exports of cooked poultry meat to Japan, according to the UK Government.

Industry estimates that this market could be worth over £10 million in the next five years, as UK poultry producer Moy Park is the first to officially register and export its produce to Japan from one of its facilities in Grantham, Lincolnshire.

UK poultry meat has been exported to Japan since a market access deal for fresh and cooked poultry was secured in 2021, but Avian Influenza outbreaks in the UK have led to restrictions on the trade.

Dr Jorge Martin-Almagro, UK Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, said: “This market access agreement is one more positive step forward for the UK poultry industry and is testament to the quality of their meat.

“In the face of ongoing challenges posed by Avian Influenza, it is a real achievement to have secured a deal which allows the exports of these valuable UK poultry products.”

The new agreement enables smoother trade of cooked poultry meat, meaning that additional high value exports to Japan can be made.

“Japan is renowned internationally for its stringent food safety and import control regime, as well as for its taste for high-quality, varied cuts of meats,” said the UK Government.

Securing trade opportunities

Negotiations were led by Defra and its Agriculture Attachés and colleagues based at the British Embassy in Tokyo, with support from the British Poultry Council (BPC), South Kesteven District Council and the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Food and Farming Minister Mark Spencer said: “British poultry is rightly celebrated as some of the best in the world and I’m delighted that new high value products can now be enjoyed in Japan.

“I’d like to pay tribute to our Agri-food Attaché network who work hard to secure trade opportunities like this and fly the flag for UK farmers.”

Chief executive of the BPC, Richard Griffiths, said: “We welcome the good news of market access for cooked poultry meat exports to Japan. Industry has worked closely with Government over the years to open doors for businesses producing world class standards of safe, affordable, nutritious food and high value poultry breeding stock.

“Following today’s announcement, we thank the Defra market access team and all Government officials involved for securing exciting opportunities for BPC members, putting food on every table round the world despite the big challenges at hand, including successful negotiations of regionalisation for highly pathogenic avian influenza. We look forward to continuing our work building, maintaining and enhancing crucial markets and relationships – both existing and new.”

Unlocking barriers

According to Defra, Japan is also a valuable market for high quality UK breeding poultry, with a further market access agreement secured in recent weeks. The agreement streamlines regionalisation for exports of breeding chicks, ensuring that any future avian influenza outbreaks only lead to temporary restrictions on exports from affected regions, rather than a countrywide ban.

This deal will allow Japanese poultry companies to continue access to UK high-grade stock.

Minister for International Trade Nigel Huddleston said: “This is a significant win for British poultry farmers and producers who can now export their top-notch produce to this vast and lucrative market.

“Unlocking trade barriers around the world increases opportunities for British businesses and is key for growing exports, driving economic growth and creating new jobs as we look to hit £1 trillion of exports every year by 2030.”