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Danish food on Japanese dinner tables

A new free trade agreement between Japan and the European Union holds great potential for Danish food businesses.

Published 18. September 2018

Hopefully, more Japanese people will eat Danish bacon, drink Danish juice or enjoy a piece of Danish liquorice.

This summer, the European Union and Japan agreed on a free trade agreement, and the Danish Minister for Environment and Food, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, is currently in Japan to meet with his Japanese colleagues and to look into how Danish food businesses can make the most of the new agreement.

"Danish businesses will be given the chance to earn money and employ more people in Denmark. This will benefit us all. Danish food products are known all over the world for their high quality and sustainability, and these are characteristics that are valued by Japanese consumers. It's difficult to say exactly what the agreement will generate in terms of earnings, but the potential is great," said Jakob Ellemann-Jensen.

In the long term, the free trade agreement will eliminate nearly all customs duties and many technical barriers to trade between Japan and the European Union. 

In practice, it will become easier for European businesses to trade with Japan. Danish products will also become cheaper in Japan, because they will no longer be subject to the current duties. One of the next steps will be to get Danish businesses to use the free trade agreement and the duty-free tariff quotas, most of which will be allocated to the countries that are first to approach Japan.

“Denmark and Danish products have a very good reputation in Japan. Now all we need to do is show the Japanese that Denmark is keen on exporting food products to Japan. At the same time, Danish politicians must make it easier for Danish businesses to exploit the new opportunities provided by the free  trade agreement," said Jakob Ellemann-Jensen.

As early as in August, Danish Crown announced that they would hire 100 new employees for their abattoir near Sønderborg in Jutland to accommodate the increasing Japanese demand for Danish meat.

The free trade agreement will enter into force in early 2019, if, as expected, it is adopted by the European Parliament and the Japanese Parliament. This means that all customs barriers to trading processed meat will be phased out over the next 10-14 years.

Further information:
Ming Ou Lü, Press Secretary, tel.: +45 2077 0459,