Thursday, 17 August, 2017

Aso announces emergency tariffs of 50% on imported frozen beef from Aug

In cold blow to US Japan ups tariffs on frozen beef imports Japan to hike tariffs on frozen beef imports from US and others
Debra Rodriguez | 29 July, 2017, 01:55

US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue warned on Friday that Japan's planned imposition of emergency tariffs on frozen beef from the United States and other countries "would harm our important bilateral trade relationship with Japan".

Aso told reporters the government is explaining the move to the United States and other countries.

The tariff-which will increase the current 38 percent tariff by 50 percent-will be in effect from August 1 until the end of March of next year, and applies to countries that don't have an economic partnership agreement with Japan-otherwise known as non-EPA countries-which includes the U.S.as well as Canada and New Zealand.

As agreed to in 1994 in the WTO Uruguay Round, Japan maintains separate quarterly import safeguards on chilled and frozen beef, allowing imports to increase by 17% compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year. But frozen beef accounts for only about of fifth of Japan's total beef imports. "It would also negatively affect Japanese consumers by raising prices and limiting their access to high-quality US frozen beef", Perdue says.

Japan is the top destination for US chilled and frozen beef, with trade valued at $581 million this year through May.

Soon after his inauguration in January, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a pending regional FTA that, once implemented with USA participation, would have reduced Japan's 38.5 per cent tariff on fresh and frozen beef cuts to 9 per cent over 16 years. "This would harm our important bilateral trade relationship with Japan on agricultural products", US secretary of agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a statement.

Australia could still struggle to win market share as its prices remain high because of a drought that has cut cattle numbers, said Nalivka, who added that a weaker US dollar could help offset the tariff increase. The framework was to be scrapped under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed 12-nation trade deal that included the USA and Japan, but Mr. Trump pulled the US out of the TPP before it went into effect.

Japan was the top export market for US beef, valued at $1.5 billion in 2016. "Prices for wagyu carcasses and wagyu feeder cattle are down from the record highs of past year, but are otherwise the highest in recent history".

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