VanDrie Group: chance of decontrol Japanese import ban22/02/2012
Amsterdam – The chances are that the Japanese import ban on Dutch veal will be decontrolled soon. If this happens then the Dutch meat industry will gain a promising market with a direct export amount of €20 million plus the potential to enter the Chinese market.
That is what insiders have been saying at the negotiations and senior manager HennySwinkels of VanDrie Group, the world’s largest producer of veal, believes this to be the case. The Japanese import ban has lasted for many years, but Swinkels and the Dutch meat lobby in Brussels hope that exports can resume in 2013. They still have things to sort out but the Japanese food safety authority has been approached by The Netherlands together with three other countries asking them to review the situation. Although they still have to give their final verdict, a positive decision is expected this summer.
Minister Verhagen of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, who will visit Japan on Tuesday and Wednesday, is expected to insist on a smooth transaction of the Dutch case. Japanese inspectors approved the Dutch veal in December 2009, but it took another two years before the food authorities got the green light to start the procedure for approval.
Industry has high expectations for the resumption of exports. “To begin we hope to be able to sell up to 500,000 kilo’s to the top Japanese restaurants”, Swinkels said.“That equates to a maximum of €20 million. If we can get VanDrie’s products into the supermarkets as well, then a market of ten million kilo’s is possible.”
The Japanese import ban dates back to 2001. The export of Dutch veal was just starting when Europe was hit by mad cow disease. The embargo remained intact even when there was no reason according to European veterinary experts to ban more veal. The Japanese’ reluctance over the past few years to withdraw the ban is, in part, caused by the domestic farmers lobby which fears the loss of market share and price erosion for the Japanese wagyu beef. As well as the export of veal, negotiations are also taking place with the Japanese on chicken meat, eggs, day-old chickens and pig semen.
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