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Gov’t mulls long-term funds for TPP measures

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

(Asahi: October 29, 2015 – p. 6)

 

 By Takeshi Narabe, Shigeo Ohata, senior writer Kenji Oyamada

 

 In light of the basic TPP agreement, the government has begun to consider setting up “funds” to allow flexible allocation over several years to support Japanese farmers facing competition with cheap imported products. Since tariffs for many agricultural products will be reduced over a long period of time, the idea of using funds that do not have to be fully spent within a single fiscal year is being considered.

 

 The government will compile TPP measures for agriculture in November and submit a proposed supplementary budget to the regular Diet session next year.

 

 Subsidies for capital investment aimed at competing with cheap imported products are being considered for beef and other livestock products, fruit, and so forth, which will be affected by drastic tariff reduction or abolition after the TPP agreement takes effect. Funds for this purpose are being contemplated.

 

 Additional funding is being considered for the “farmland banks” created last year in each prefecture for land aggregation, in order to improve rice farmers’ productivity, currently with a budget of around 50 billion yen per prefecture.

 

 Funds will not be created for beef, pork, rice, and wheat, but the current income compensation system where farmers and the government make regular contributions to a financial scheme for supporting farmers suffering losses above a certain level is being considered for expansion.

 

 It is feared that pork barrel spending may proliferate if allocations for TPP measures are made on an annual basis. A senior Finance Ministry official notes that “under the funds system, unspent money can be carried over to the next fiscal year, so from the mid- and long-term perspective, this will prevent wasteful spending.” (Slightly abridged)

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