The Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries, Enzo Benech announced at a press conference earlier this week the authorization by Japan of 16 Uruguayan refrigerators. This follows an agreement signed in December 2018 between Uruguay and Japan that ended a 19-year ban on fresh beef trade between the two nations.
Benech said that the Japanese market is “highly demanding” and that this achievement follows ten years of negotiations that were resumed in 2009 to recover this buyer, whom it has not sold to since 2000.
"Japan recognizes that we are the first country free of foot and mouth disease with vaccination and recognizes our traceability," added the minister.
According to USDA data, Japan is the world's third largest importer of beef.
Beef processor Marfrig Global Foods also announced that four of its units located in the Uruguayan cities of Colonia, San José, Tacuarembó and Salto were able to export fresh beef to Japan.
"This is an excellent opportunity for the company in Uruguay, which after 19 years returns to meet this market, which maintains extremely strict sanitary requirements," said Miguel Gularte, CEO of the South America operation of Marfrig.
This agreement boosts Marfrig’s already strong presence in Japan. National Beef, which is part of the company's operation in North America, is the leading exporter of US chilled meat to the Japanese market.
Minerva, the second largest beef producer in Uruguay, with a daily slaughtering capacity of 3,200 head, also had three of its slaughtering plants certified to export to Japan.