New EU Packaging Rules Threaten Japanese Exports

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News in Brief:
– Proposed EU regulations on food packaging pose a threat to Japanese exports, impacting signature products like sake, scallops, and wagyu beef.
– Challenges include reusability issues for sake bottles, requirements for recyclable packaging for scallops and wagyu, and potential classification of Japanese multilayer film as insufficiently recyclable.

The European Union’s proposed regulations on food packaging could spell trouble for Japan’s exports, particularly its signature products like sake, scallops, and wagyu beef. As negotiations loom, Japanese industries brace for potential hurdles in accessing one of their major global markets.

Sake, with its unique bottle shape, faces a dilemma under the proposed rules, which mandate reusable or refillable containers. Unlike wine bottles, sake bottles pose difficulties in reusability, potentially burdening sake breweries. Scallops and wagyu beef, key components of Japanese exports, would also be impacted, requiring recyclable packaging for entry into the EU market.

Japanese food packaging, commonly utilising multilayer film, is durable and resistant, ideal for sea shipment. However, EU regulations may classify it as insufficiently recyclable, affecting various products like tofu and ready-to-eat food pouches.

The proposed changes come at a critical juncture, jeopardising Japan’s efforts to capitalise on the EU’s recent relaxation of restrictions post-2011 disasters. Last year, Japan’s exports to the EU, including alcohol, scallops, and beef, witnessed significant growth, totaling 72.4 billion yen ($482 million).

Chinwendu Ohabughiro
Chinwendu Ohabughiro
Chinwendu Gift Ohabughiro has a background in English and Literary Studies from Imo State University. She brings a fresh perspective to the world of agriculture writing. When she's not penning compelling content, she's likely lost in the pages of a thrilling mystery or treating herself to the sinful delight of chocolate.


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