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Farm ministry anticipates no notable rice import increase under TPP

  • 2015-10-29 15:00:00
  • , Nikkei
  • Translation

(Nikkei: October 29, 2015 – p. 4)

 

 The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) has compiled a report saying the effectuation of the TPP agreement will have limited impact on rice, wheat, vegetables, and other agricultural products. In the key area of rice, while imports from the U.S. will likely increase, “other imports are not expected to increase,” says the report. In light of highly developed differentiation between domestic and foreign oranges, apples and other products, the impact of tariff abolition will be “limited.”

 

 MAFF will present its analysis of impact by product sector to a meeting of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) divisions concerned with agricultural issues on Oct. 29.

 

 The ministry reckons that the increase in rice imports will be limited to the preferential quota of 78,000 tons each year for the U.S. and Australia. On the other hand, it is concerned that the influx of cheaper U.S. rice may affect domestic prices. It will consider measures to stabilize demand and supply in the market, such as by increasing the current government purchase of rice reserves from 200,000 tons to 330,000 tons a year.

 

 Import quotas will also be set up for wheat. However, since a high tariff rate will be maintained, an “increase in imports is not expected,” as in the case of rice. The government currently charges flour mills an extra amount when imported wheat is sold to them as a measure to close the gap in the prices of domestic and imported wheat. After the TPP accord takes effect, such “profit from imports” will be reduced in stages to 45%. The impact of this will be closely watched.

 

 MAFF will also analyze the impact of TPP on livestock farming and other sectors.

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