INAC said it had been working for "two or three years" to gain access to Japan. Speaking at the recent Sial food show in Paris, Dr Fernando Perez Abella, vice-president at INAC, told GlobalMeatNews: "We are starting to open up Japan’s markets, we are in the last steps. This is very good for Uruguayan meat."
He explained that it had been difficult to compete with the likes of Australia for Japan’s trade, due to trade agreements, as well as the proximity of the two countries.
"We know from experience with South Korea that it’s difficult to make commercial relationships like Australia has, so we’re working on making those relationships more fluent with Japan," he said.
Abella added that the Uruguayan stand had been visited by numerous Japanese visitors, who were anticipating the opening of the market, keen to know more about the South American country’s product. They also had an invitation for Foodex Japan 2015, where they will be able to promote Uruguayan meat, according to Abella.
INAC told GlobalMeatNews that it was price, rather than volume, that held the most potential for Uruguayan exports to Japan.
Abella hopes to position his products at the high end of the market in Japan, pointing to the clean and spacious reputation of the South American continent as desirable qualities. He promoted its hormone-free attributes and traceability system, adding that Uruguay was the first country to ban hormones in beef – in 1962.
We were told that all that remains to do is for a Japanese sanitary delegation to audit the Uruguayan plants and systems.
Abella said there was an existing relationship between the two countries, which would be of assistance, due to Uruguay offering help to Japan after the tsunami in 2011.