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EXCLUSIVE: U.S. to ease bottle rules for Japanese alcoholic drinks

  • September 18, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 1:11 a.m.
  • English Press
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Tokyo, Sept. 17 (Jiji Press)–Tokyo and Washington are in the final stage of talks on the United States easing its regulations on bottles for alcoholic beverages imported from Japan under an envisioned trade pact between the two countries, Jiji Press learned Tuesday.

The two sides hope to reach an agreement at a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump in New York next week, Japanese government sources said.

The United States currently sets seven sizes, ranging from 50 milliliters to 1,750 milliliters, for bottles for “shochu” and other distilled spirits it imports from Japan, and nine sizes, ranging from 50 milliliters to 3,000 milliliters, for bottles for Japanese wines.

The rules are putting a heavy burden on Japanese beverages makers in terms of costs and export procedures.

Aiming to expand exports, the industry has been strongly calling on the Japanese government to press the U.S. side to ease or scrap the nontariff barriers.

Under the proposed bilateral trade pact, Japanese tariffs on wines from California and other parts of the United States are expected to be abolished in five to seven years. In return, the United States will accept the Japanese demand for an easing of the bottle regulations, the sources said.

European Union-bound exports of shochu in 720-milliliter and 1.8-liter bottles became possible under the Japan-EU economic partnership agreement, which went into force in February.

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