All national papers highlighted announcements by the USTR and the Agriculture Ministry on Thursday regarding a new bilateral agreement on U.S. beef imports, saying that the two sides decided to adopt new criteria for triggering safeguard emergency restrictions in the event of an import surge. Under the new rule, imports duties on U.S. products will not be raised even if the aggregate import volume exceeds the existing threshold as long as the amount falls below the separate standard of 625,000 tons per year that triggers import restrictions for TPP members. The new arrangement will make it more difficult for Tokyo to invoke import restrictions on American beef. Asahi quoting Agriculture Secretary Vilsack as saying: “It allows for greater market-based growth in U.S. beef exports to Japan.”
Although under the present U.S.-Japan beef trade agreement that took effect in January 2020, the existing threshold for safeguard for U.S. meat will be raised annually from 247,000 tons in FY2021 to 293,000 tons in FY2033, the papers said Japan refused to accept a U.S. request for raising these levels this time.