Poultry exports to Japan cleared for business

British poultry businesses have secured a new market access agreement for exports of cooked poultry products to Japan.

Market access was first granted in 2021 for both fresh and cooked poultry products; however, outbreaks of avian influenza in the UK have impacted on the trade conditions and the agreement is now limited to only cooked products.

The new deal is estimated to be worth more than £10m during the first five years of trade, according to industry figures.

See also: Holyrood urged to introduce targeted bird flu housing order

This provides some good news for British poultry producers, but is just a fraction of the original 2021 forecasts, which had estimated potential trade values at up to £13m each year.

Defra 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.”

The British Poultry Council also welcomed the news and thanked Defra’s market access team and government officials involved in securing access for its members.

Richard Griffiths, chief executive of the British Poultry Council, said: “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.”

Major meat processor Moy Park is the first exporter to be registered under the new agreement through one of its sites in Lincolnshire.

Beatriz Curran, international business development manager at Moy Park, said Japan is also a valuable market for high-quality UK breeding poultry, with a further market access agreement secured in recent weeks.

“The agreement ensures that any future avian influenza outbreaks only lead to temporary restrictions on exports from affected regions, rather than a countrywide ban,” Ms Curran added.