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ECONOMY > Agriculture

Japanese government to impose safeguards on U.S. beef on March 18

  • March 17, 2021
  • , Nikkei , p. 5
  • JMH Translation

The Japanese government is expected to impose safeguard measures on U.S. beef on March 18. This will be the first time in three years and seven months for such measures to be invoked. Tariffs on U.S. beef will be raised from the current rate of 25.8% to 38.5%, as the import volume in fiscal 2020 topped the threshold figure. The tariff hike will be in effect for only 30 days, and some say its impact on the market will be minimal.

 

The Japanese government is assuming a wait-and-see attitude toward the safeguard’s effect on the market price of beef and Japan-U.S. relations. Beef tariffs may trigger political issues in Japan and other countries. Within 10 days of implementing the safeguard, the Japanese and U.S. governments will initiate negotiations to adjust the threshold, in accordance with their bilateral trade agreement. The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the U.S. counterpart for the negotiations, has not yet been confirmed.

 

The safeguard measures in the trade agreement were established at the request of the U.S, which withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), so that a certain proportion of Japan’s beef imports would be secured for U.S. products. The discussions to lower the safeguard threshold volume under the TPP have been suspended although they were to begin at the time of America’s withdrawal from that multilateral trade pact. In the current agreement, the threshold volume for U.S. imports is to be raised incrementally. Japan may come under fire from not only domestic beef producers but from other TPP member states if it makes further concessions to the U.S. (Abridged)

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