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International Relations

EU opens doors to Japanese eggs and dairy products

Import ban to be lifted following launch of economic partnership agreement

The European Union had barred Japanese egg product imports due to quarantine measures.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The European Union will lift its import bans on Japanese egg and dairy products to coincide with the trade deal that goes into effect next month, it was revealed Tuesday.

The European Commission voted on Jan. 25 to put those products on the exemption list, and the decision will take effect in about a month. Because of the EU's quarantine restrictions, beef had been the only Japanese animal product export authorized by the common market.   

Takamori Yoshikawa, Japan's minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, voiced high expectations for trade with Europe when he announced the lifting of the ban Tuesday. "I hope we can open up exports as soon as possible," he told reporters.

The economic partnership agreement signed by Japan and the EU goes into force Friday. Because it will eliminate most tariffs on Japanese farm goods, the nation's agriculture ministry has made requests to Europe to ease restrictions on imports.

The move will allow Japan to export mayonnaise, sponge cakes and similar goods. But items whose animal product content amounts to 50% or above will have to satisfy the EU's Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points standards. Those strictures are likely to delay the acceptance of such products.

The European Commission did not give the green light to Japanese-produced pork and chicken at this stage because of the cases of swine fever and bird flu occurring in Japan.

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