(Sankei: July 30, 2015 – p. 3)
By Makoto Honda in Lahaina, Hawaii
The TPP ministerial meeting opened on July 28 (July 29 in Japan). Japan is finalizing its tariff talks with the other TPP participants. Its plan to set a uniform tariff for beef and pork imports will result in a major tariff reduction for most imported products. While this will benefit consumers, domestic livestock farmers are certain to be seriously affected. The government is making every effort to soften the impact by introducing emergency safeguards.
Tough negotiations are taking place between Japan and the U.S. over safeguards. The government is also considering a compromise proposal to limit tariff reinstatement to a maximum of 20% when safeguards are invoked, even after tariff on beef is reduced to 9%.
Japan is setting the overall import volume from all TPP nations as the basis for invoking safeguards and not imposing separate import limits for each country in order to encourage competition among them. By telling its TPP partners that they will be able to increase their share in the Japanese market depending on the efforts they make, Japan hopes to obtain their understanding. (Abridged)