Business

Japan and Uruguay agree on two-way beef exports

Kyodo

Japan and Uruguay have agreed to allow each other’s beef imports as a way of expanding bilateral trade, reaching the deal during the first visit by a Japanese leader to the Latin American country.

At a news conference with Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez following talks in Montevideo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Sunday he was delighted with the trade deal.

Japan had been negotiating beef exports to Uruguay since March 2016, while imports of beef from Uruguay had been suspended by Tokyo since 2000 due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

Abe also said at the news conference that Uruguay is “an important partner of Japan that shares universal values such as democracy and the rule of law.”

During their talks, Abe and Vazquez agreed to promote people-to-people exchanges in such sectors as sports and culture in the run-up to the 100th anniversary in 2021 of diplomatic relations between the two nations, Japanese officials said.

They also affirmed the need to fully implement U.N. sanctions against North Korea to denuclearize the reclusive country, the officials said.

Moving on to Paraguay later in the day, Abe agreed with President Mario Abdo Benitez to seek the early conclusion of a bilateral investment pact aimed at improving the business environment.

During Abe’s Paraguay visit, which was also the first by a Japanese leader, Tokyo pledged ¥500 million in grant aid to Asuncion, enabling Japanese medical equipment to be provided to hospitals in Paraguay, according to the officials.

Abe visited the two countries as part of a South American tour that involved attending the Group of 20 summit in Argentina.