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U.S., Japan make headway in trade negotiations

Yomiuri led on Sunday with a report saying that the Trump administration has agreed to remove as part of the bilateral trade deal the current low-tariff quota of 200 tons per year for Japanese beef imports to the U.S. The U.S. reportedly agreed to scrap the quota and place Japan in a separate category that excludes major beef-producing nations such as Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Japan and the other countries in the category will be able to export a combined total of about 64,000 tons of beef to the United States per year at the low tariff rate of 4.4 cents per kilogram. The daily said this will enable Japan to export more high-quality Japanese beef to the U.S.  


In a related story, Mainichi wrote on Monday that the USG and the GOJ are likely to substantially lower the annual cap of 70,000 tons on the amount of U.S. rice that can be exported to Japan tariff-free set under the original TPP agreement. The daily said the Trump administration apparently heeded Japan’s request for lowering the cap, speculating that the President may not be very enthusiastic about promoting rice exports given that rice is a key crop for California, a Democratic stronghold. The paper added that the GOJ is set to emphasize this development as a major U.S. “concession” when talking to Japanese farmers about the U.S.-Japan trade negotiations.     


Meanwhile, Sunday’s Nikkei claimed in a front-page article that Japan has agreed to eliminate its tariff on American wine in about 5 to 7 years following the effectuation of the bilateral trade accord, explaining that the tariff on U.S. wine will be phased out around the same time as the tariffs on wine imported from TPP nations. The daily added that consumer prices for American wine will drop by about 10% after the duties are removed completely.  

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