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ECONOMY > Agriculture

Japan gov’t to take steps to support farmers after EU trade deal

  • July 7, 2017
  • , Kyodo News , 5:10 p.m.
  • English Press

The Japanese government will strengthen efforts to support the agricultural, livestock, dairy and forestry sectors that could be affected by the Japan-EU free trade deal agreed the previous day, a Japanese minister said Friday.

 

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yuji Yamamoto said the government would consider increasing subsidies for raw milk producers after the trade deal said tariffs on some European cheese will be eliminated 15 years after the deal takes effect.

 

“The government will implement all possible measures in addition to the measures that we won in the negotiations,” Yamamoto said, adding that steps to improve the quality and reduce the cost of producing raw milk will be strengthened.

 

On beef and pork, the government could expand the system of grants to livestock farmers to make up for their losses, while it can also take measures to help lumber products become more competitive such as making processing facilities more efficient.

 

In the Japan-EU free trade deal, the two sides agreed to remove tariffs on a broad range of products, fueling concerns among Japanese producers about an influx of more competitive European items, especially in agriculture.

 

Under the agreement, Japan will set up a low-tariff quota on European soft cheese initially set at 20,000 tons. The tariff for the quota will be eliminated in 15 years. On hard cheese such as cheddar and gouda, Japan will scrap import duties after 15 years.

 

Japan will also lower tariffs on European beef to 9 percent after 15 years and scrap tariffs on 10 timber products after seven years.

 

While the two sides also agreed to ease regulations related to companies bidding for public work and other projects, Japanese land minister Keiichi Ishii said that there will be “no effect on the domestic construction market” as the sector was exempted.

 

Japan’s internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi also said that “the impact to the local economy will be extremely limited” because the rules for bidding on public works take into consideration the views of local municipalities.

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