On Nov. 20, the Liberal Democratic Party approved a final draft of a policy package to support Japanese farmers and companies that will be affected by the new 11 nation Trans-Pacific Partnership deal and Japan’s bilateral economic partnership agreement with the European Union that is expected be finalized by the end of the year. Measures in the package are to be concluded soon and expected to be financed with a supplementary budget for fiscal 2017.
The package includes a measure to strengthen dairy farmers, such as cheese producers, as imports of European cheese are expected to increase under the EPA. The government will offer support to reduce production costs and build branding by subsidizing the adoption of efficient manufacturing equipment, providing technical training, and support entry into international contests. The LDP will also help the forestry industry by developing forest roads and subsidizing equipment purchases.
Sugarcane farmers will also receive more support. A fee will be collected from cocoa and coffee powder importers to be used as fund to promote sugarcane production. The government will reduce the wholesale cost of imported wheat for domestic milling companies to prepare for the increase of cheap pasta products from the EU.
In principle, these measures are expected to be financed with a supplementary budget for fiscal 2017. The government is now coordinating with the ruling parties on budgeting some 300 billion yen for the policy package. In addition to the supplementary budget, livestock farmers, such as beef and pork producers, will receive a higher deficit coverage rate, up from the current 80% to 90%. Relevant laws will be proposed in the ordinary diet session next year.