China lifts 18-year-old ban on Japanese beef imports as Beijing seeks to warm trade ties with Tokyo


China has lifted an 18-year-long ban on beef imported from Japan in a fresh sign that Beijing is trying to warm its relationship with Tokyo, as well as feed a growing appetite for meat.

The import ban on beef from Japanese cows under 30 months old has been immediately removed, according to a notice published by the General Administration of Customs on Thursday, paving the way for one of the most popular Japanese agricultural products to return to the dining table of the world’s largest meat consumer after nearly two decades.

The decision, which also includes lifting restrictions on Japanese pork and mutton, came before this week’s visit to China by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his second trip to Beijing since bilateral ties between Asia’s two biggest economies began thawing last year.

Resumption of beef imports from Japan will serve as a fresh goodwill sign between China and Japan as Beijing is trying to mitigate risks of

decoupling from the United States.

China’s levels of beef imports have been rising strongly as Chinese consumer’s appetite for high-quality meat grows with their income levels. In the first 10 months of 2019, China imported 1.28 million tonnes of beef, a rise of 54.5 per cent from the same period last year, according to China’s Ministry of Agriculture, with the majority coming from Australia, Brazil and Argentina.


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